This teaching includes a free sermon outline to download for personal use, message preparation or Bible study discussion.
The Holy Place
Essentially what we are saying is there is a way into the holiest. Under the Old Covenant through Moses God gave a pattern but all that was given through Moses was just an earthly pattern of heavenly realities and truth. It’s only through the New Covenant in Jesus Christ that we can enter into the actual heavenly realities of what was disclosed only in pattern and in type and in shadow under the Old Covenant.
You see, what has gripped me is that I see so many Christians, Charismatics, still living in many ways on a lower spiritual level than they lived in the Old Testament. Here the scripture says what was not granted for the Old Testament believers has been granted to us. Under the Mosaic covenant the way into the holiest was not yet made plain. Then it says we have boldness to enter into the holiest by a new and living way. I do believe that the Holy Spirit in almost every session that we’ve had has been challenging us to take that move, to make that decision, to move in where God has opened the way for us.
When it says “the way” I believe it means “the way.” I believe there is a prescribed way. It’s not a matter of guesswork or hoping, it’s a matter of going by the directions of scripture. I believe that God really made it clear to me that if we’ll look at this outline which is an exact reproduction of what the scripture teaches, it reveals the way into the holiest. For those of you that have not been here, this is a floor plan or a ground plan of the tabernacle which was a triune building. We have chosen to take it as the pattern of the triune nature of man. There were three areas of the tabernacle: the outer court, the holy place and then beyond this veil here, the holiest of all. We have likened these to the three areas of the human personality. The holiest of all, the spirit; the holy place; the soul; and the outer court, the body.
The obvious distinction in the tabernacle is the type of light available. In the outer court it’s natural light, the senses, sense knowledge; in the holy place it’s the light of the seven branched candlestick which we have compared to revealed truth; and in the holy of holies there is no light except the supernatural presence of Almighty God called the shekinah glory. We have here depicted the entrance into the outer court at the bottom of the chart at the east end. When you first come to Christ you approach the brazen altar there and that’s how far you’ve come. There is a way that takes you from the brazen altar up stage by stage into the holiest, into the place where God reveals himself in his glory personally. I do believe I can say that God showed me this is the way, it’s there. The plan is there, the map is there. If you will follow it, it will take you in.
We hear so many people say “When I came to Christ I got it all.” To me that’s really absurd. It’s like standing here saying, “I’m there.” See? It’s just a contradiction in terms. You got the legal right to get into it all when you came to Christ. As many as receive him, the scripture says, to them gave he authority to become the children of God. But there’s a long distance from receiving authority to become a child of God from becoming a mature son of God. There’s a long, long journey.
We’re taking the journey. We’ll just briefly review the material and then we’ll take the third stage into the holiest. Here’s the brazen altar representing the cross and the death of Jesus. Its four sides, each representing something essential for our progress. The first side, forgiveness of past sins; the second side, the taking away of sin as an evil destructive spiritual power. Once in the end of the ages Christ appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. The third side, dealing with the old rebellious, carnal nature. Our old man was crucified in Christ. The fourth side, the burnt offering of total dedication, the placing of your life totally upon the altar for God.
We move on from the brazen altar to the brazen laver which was made of brass of the mirrors of the women of Israel and was filled with pure water. It represents the word of God first as a mirror, showing us our inner spiritual condition.
Secondly, brass typifying judgment, the means by which we judge ourselves. 1Corinthians 11:31, “If we would judge ourselves we should not be judged by God.” As we look in the mirror we’re given opportunity to judge ourselves by God’s unchanging standards.
Thirdly, it contained the clean water which signifies the word of God as a cleansing sanctifying agent. Ephesians 5:26–27, Christ gave himself for the church by a redemptive act on the cross that he might thereafter cleanse and sanctify it with the washing of water by the word. 1 John 5:6, this is he that came by water and by blood, not by water only but by water and by blood. He came by water to cleanse and sanctify as the teacher. He came by blood to give his life, the redemptive price, as the redeemer. And when you come to the water and the blood, then the Spirit bears witness. This is where you have the absolute assurance of moving in with God. All that’s in the outer court, the material is brass signifying divine inspection and judgment on everything that does not pass the inspection.
Now we’re going to go from the outer court into the holy place. Related to the areas of man’s personality we’re moving out of the realm of the body and into the realm of the soul. Or, related to the life of Christ we’re moving out of the area of Jesus in the days of his flesh to that revelation of Jesus after death through resurrection which is only given by the inspired scriptures. It is not to be known by natural perception. Everything after the cross and the burial of Jesus is in this area. The outer court doesn’t tell you anything about that. You pass out of the days of Jesus in his flesh to the revelation of Jesus risen from the dead. 2Corinthians 5 I think is so clear on this. 2Corinthians 5:15–16:
“That he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him who died for them and rose again.”
We’re speaking now about the fact that Jesus not merely died but he rose.
“Wherefore [because of his death and resurrection] henceforth know we no man after the flesh. [We’re not in this area any longer.] Yea though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more after the flesh.”
We move out of this area into the area where it is revelation truth imparted by the Holy Spirit. Or, in relation to human personality we’ve moved out of the area of sense knowledge into the area of revelation truth. Out of the body into the area of the soul.
Now we’ll take the three functions of the soul which are the will, the intellect and the emotions. This is pretty standard Bible teaching, it’s not something that I initiated. Many sound Bible teachers have come basically to the same truths. The three functions of the soul: will, intellect and emotions. The primary one around which it all hinges is the will.
The will I choose to represent by the table of shewbread, the first item that you have to deal with inside the first veil. I suggest to you that the bread represents the will because bread in scripture is a type of strength and the strength of the soul is not in its intellect nor in its emotions but in its will. You can have a brilliant intellect or be very emotional and very weak. The strength of your soul is in its will. I agree with what Finney said when he wrote and preached years back that I don’t preach to men’s emotions. I’m not seeking to reach their emotions. I’m seeking to reach and change their will. That’s why Finney’s preaching was so tremendously effective in its afterworking. It’s comparatively easy to get people emotionally stirred up, but it’s totally ineffective if we don’t change their will. That’s what we’ve got to aim at. Shewbread on the table, the will.
Now let’s look at Psalm 104:15 which is a key verse about the very area that we’re dealing with. Psalm 104:15, speaking about God’s provision for man says in verse 14:
“He causes grass to grow for the cattle [and so on. Verse 15, three special provisions for man:] Wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face shine, and bread which strengtheneth man’s heart...”
And actually we’ve got all three. The wine is the emotions. The oil is the illumination. You notice the word “shine” which speaks of light. And the bread speaks of the will. Illumination of the mind, let’s put intellect, to use the same word. You’ll find all through the Bible God’s basic provision is summed up in those three things. The corn, the wine and the oil. When the Spirit leaves in Joel 1 God’s people are destitute of corn, wine and oil. And when the Spirit is poured out in Joel 2 he says, “I will restore to you the corn, the wine and the oil.” The corn, the strength of the will and the word of God. The oil, the illumination of the Holy Spirit. And the wine, the joy that we were speaking about last night in the meeting. Music and dancing. God wants his people to have corn, wine and oil. You’re living an impoverished life if you don’t have all three.
This afternoon we’re going to deal, first and foremost, with the bread which is the strength of the will. Just by confirmation, turn to another passage which is Isaiah 3 and notice how God speaks about bread there. Isaiah 3:1:
“For behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts, takes away from Jerusalem and from Judah the stay and the staff, the whole stay of bread and the whole stay of water.”
The bread is the type of strength. The strength is in the will.
Now, Christ sets the pattern for the will. Turn to Hebrews 10 and look from verses 5–7:
“Wherefore he says [and this is Christ] when he cometh into the world, sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared for me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin [that’s the Mosaic ceremonies] thou hast had no pleasure. Then, said I, Lo, I come—in the volume of the book it is written of me...”
The eternal counsels of God written in the volume of the book, the covenant seal between Father and Son before time ever set on its course.
“In the volume of that book it is written of me—I come to do thy will, O God.”
His body was prepared for what purpose? To do God’s will. For what purpose do you have a body? To do God’s will. That’s why you have a body. Every other reason is secondary.
Let’s look at some other statements of Jesus quickly in John 5:30.
“I can of mine own self do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of the Father which has sent me.”
There’s a very important principle. You can judge justly, your discernment will be correct when you’re not seeking your own will. When you’re seeking the Father’s will you’ll not be deceived. You’ll have perception, you’ll have discernment, you’ll have judgment. But when you begin to want your own will, then you’ll go astray.
And in John 6:38 the same truth:
“For I came down from heaven not to do mine own will but the will of him who sent me.”
And then in the passage in Matthew 26 which we will not read right now, there is the final confirmation, the scene in the garden where twice he says to the Father, “If this cup may not pass from me except I drink it, thy will be done.” That’s the confirmation of the surrender of his will at every point to the Father.
Now we have seen already, and we do not need to turn back, in Romans 12:1–2 that by the surrender of your body you discover the will of God. A body has thou prepared for me to do what? To do thy will. So when your body is yielded, the will of God will be unfolded.
And then notice in John 4:32–34. This is the scene where Jesus had been talking to the woman of Samaria at Jacob’s well. He’d sent his disciples into the town to get food. When they came back he didn’t want to eat. They couldn’t understand. Verse 31:
“In the meantime his disciples urged him, saying, Master, eat. [We’ve got the food you’ve sent us for.] But he said unto them, I have food to eat that ye know not of. Therefore said the disciples one to another, Has any man brought him ought to eat? Jesus said unto them, My food is to do the will of him that sent me and to finish his work.”
So the thing that gave Jesus strength was doing the will of God. He was weak when he sat at the well but when he witnessed to the woman and fulfilled God’s will, it gave him actual physical strength. He no longer felt that immediate need to eat. That is true for you and me. It’s doing the will of God that gives us strength. It’s setting our will to do God’s will that gives us strength of soul and purpose. That’s where strength begins.
And really, what can God do with a person who has no strength? You see, you can consecrate your life to God every service but if you’re the slave of your emotions there will be no real permanent result. God must begin in the area of the will. I think it’s very dangerous that so little really is said to most Charismatics about this area of the will. We tend to want to be at the golden altar. But friend, you can’t get to the golden altar legitimately till you’ve been here at the table of shewbread and here at the golden candlestick [or lampstand].
Now, let’s look at the provisions for the shewbread which are found in Leviticus. Leviticus 24:5–9:
“And thou shall take fine flour and bake twelve cakes thereof. Two tenths meal shall be in one cake.”
Every time I read these passages I notice the absolute accuracy of everything. There’s no margins, there’s no if’s or but’s or maybe’s. Everything has to be precise.
“You shall set them in two rows, six in a row, upon the pure table before the Lord. And thou shall put pure frankincense upon each row, that it may be on the bread for a memorial, even an offering made by fire unto the Lord. Every Sabbath he shall set it in order before the Lord continually...”
It was changed once a week. New bread replaced the old bread every Sabbath. Verse 9:
“And it shall be Aaron’s and his sons...”
This was the priest’s portion, the bread that was taken from the table after it had been one week before the Lord. It became the portion of Aaron and his family as priests.
Now let’s apply this to your will and mine. I’ve put there eight successive features in which this shewbread typifies the kind of will that God is looking for. And before I say this let me point out to you that elsewhere—and that’s in Numbers 4:7—it’s called the perpetual bread. Actually the word shewbread is not a literal translation. It is really the bread of the face. Whose face? God’s face. So this is the bread that is always before the face of God. Perpetually before God’s face day and night, seven days a week, this bread is before the face of God. This is your will. I cannot think of anything that is more deeply affected me in recent months than the sudden understanding that my will is like loaves of bread on a table displayed before God day and night, 24 hours a day. God demands to inspect my will. If there’s one loaf missing or out of place, he wants to know why. If I can get this across to you it’ll make a tremendous change in many of you. Remember your will is like the shewbread continually before the face of God. There’s got to be twelve loaves. Every loaf has got to be in the right place all the time. There must not be one moment when your will is not in accord with the will of God. I venture to promise you that if you can understand that you’ll be saved many, many disasters and heartaches. It’s your will that you have to guard, it’s your will where everything really begins in your dealings with God.
See, in the outer court it’s what God did for us. But when we get in here it’s our response to God. It begins with the will. At any rate, to me, this is clear. I can think of myself, I walk along the street or I’m in some trivial daily activity, I think to myself is the shewbread there? Is every loaf in place? Is there anything in me that’s not willing for the will of God? I don’t mean resigned, I mean positively delighting to do his will. Lo, I come, I delight to do thy will. It’s my delight, it’s my strength.
Now let’s look through the eight points. First of all, to make the shewbread the corn had to be ground very fine. That’s God dealing with your will. And I’ll give you a beautiful scripture, Isaiah 28:28. If you want to write it down, it’s a good one to remember. Very simple, just the first part of it.
“Bread corn is bruised...”
So, there’s a continual bruising of your will. Did you understand that? There’s a little lump left somewhere and it’s got to be absolutely perfectly finely ground flour. Your will is acceptable when it’s as smooth and as fine as that flour. And until it is God will go on bruising, bruising, bruising, bruising. So now you know what’s going on!
Secondly, to make a loaf it has to be molded. Your will has to be conformed to the revealed will of God in the scriptures. And the pattern is Jesus.
Thirdly, when it’s been molded it has to be baked in the heat of the fire. The heat is the testing. All right. You say, “God, I want to do your will.” Everything goes against you. Five different disasters hit you in one day. Do you change your mind, you can’t stand the fire. It must go through the fire. Don’t think it’s strange concerning the fiery trial, Peter says. It’s got to happen, that’s the baking of the bread.
Then it has to be completely ordered. There’s got to be twelve loaves in two rows of six. You don’t have seven in one row and five in another. This is where I think, to be honest, I think Charismatics are downright sloppy to tell you the truth. Many of them. They’ve got no sense of order or discipline. I was brought up in Britain and I was brought up in a military family. Though in many ways I rebelled, I have a background basic understanding of what discipline is. Without discipline you cannot be a disciple. If you think it doesn’t matter whether you have five in one row and seven in another, you don’t think like God. God says six loaves in each row opposite one another. Not squiggly, not sideways. That’s the way your will has got to be.
And incidentally, if your will is like that, shall I tell you something? Your desk will be like that. Your office will be like that. Your kitchen will be like that. It will. You cannot have it otherwise. It’s true. If you have a problem keeping your house in order, just check on where the shewbread is. You’ll get the answer.
Number five. It has to be covered by frankincense which always in scripture is a type of worship. Every time you read frankincense, that’s worship. So you see, it isn’t a surly, “Well, God, if you insist, I’ll do it.” It’s, “Thank you, Lord. I’m glad to do your will. Bless God, I bow my head in submission and worship. Your will be done, Lord.” On earth as it is in heaven, that’s the standard.
Then we’ve already seen that sixth one. Perpetually displayed before the face of God day and night, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. God says I want to see where the bread is.
Number seven, it’s surrounded by a double protective crown. So precious was that bread that they didn’t just have one protective crown around the top of the table but they had a border with another crown so that if any little crumbs got outside the first crown it was still protected from falling to the earth by the second crown. There’s a double crown around your will and I really believe God showed me this. I said, “Lord, what’s the double crown?” He said watch and pray. That’s it. Look at Luke 21:36:
“Watch ye therefore, and pray always [24 hours a day] that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things.”
We don’t need to go into that except that I want to point out one truth. You were not worthy to be saved. Do you agree with that? But you’ve got to be worthy to escape. See? You’ve got to live in such a way that it would be unrighteous of God to bring upon you the judgment which is coming upon the ungodly. So grace has got to make you righteous in life. Watch and pray always that ye may be counted worthy to escape.
Friend, I don’t know all about the great tribulation but I do believe there’s something to escape. Whatever it is, I want to escape it. If you want to be a hero, you be a hero without me!
The same words were given by Jesus to the sleeping disciples in the garden, “Watch and pray.” He said, “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. You said you’ll follow me all the way but if you don’t watch and pray you’ll be caught unaware. Your will will be out of place.” And sure enough, it happened. So that’s the double protective crown to keep your shewbread in place. Watch and pray.
And then every seven days it had to be put there fresh. You must regularly rededicate your will to God. Smith Wigglesworth said every new revelation demands a new dedication. And that’s true. Every time God shows you a new truth, a new duty; it demands the shewbread being put on the table afresh.
We move on to the seven branched candlestick which I liken to the intellect, the source of light. The only source of light. The candlestick and the cherubim were made of beaten gold. Everything else in the tabernacle was of pure gold. And I understand pure gold is divine nature, beaten gold is divine workmanship. The cherubim were created beings, the mind is a creature of God. And furthermore, when we talk about beaten gold, to me that suggests a process of shaping and hammering and bringing something into line with a certain standard and pattern. I believe that demands for our intellect two things: study and discipline. For the candle of your intellect, [the candlestick, the lampstand] to be what God intends, it has to be beaten. It has to be hammered, it has to be shaped. I’ll show you just that one scripture, 2Corinthians 10:5:
“Casting down imaginations [or reasonings in the margin] and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”
That’s obviously in the area of the mind. The suggestion is that by nature our thoughts are at enmity with God. Is that true? What does it say in Romans 8? The carnal mind is what? Enmity against God. So that enemy has got to be brought into captivity in every thought to the obedience of Christ. That’s the hammering out of the golden candlestick.
You know when your mind is in captivity? When everything you think is in line with scripture. When you think about everything as the Bible speaks about everything, you have a captivated mind, in the right sense of the word captivated.
Having been trained as a philosopher I think I’ve probably had more problems with my mind than the average Christian. God showed me this was the weak area of my Christian experience. He showed me that I needed protection for my mind and he showed me from 1Thessalonians 5:8 it was a helmet and it was the helmet of hope. I cannot speak on that. But God showed me the whole world is alienated from God in the attitude of its mind. It’s at war with God in its mind. One of the great ministries of the gospel is bringing men’s minds into captivity to the obedience of Christ. God showed me, “You’d better start with your own mind.” I have. How far I’ve come, God knows but I’ll tell you, I have a very, very different mind from what I had 25 years ago. That’s for sure. I have changed. I have deliberately hammered away at the candlestick to bring every thought into captivity. I don’t claim to have achieved that but I’ve come a measurable distance. I can look back and see what it was and know what it is today. And this is a process that every believer has to go through. It’s the hammering out of the lampstand of the intellect.
Now let’s look at some of the scriptures there. Psalm 119:130:
“The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.”
So light is related to understanding. It’s in the realm of the intellect.
And then in Ephesians 4:23 we see that understanding is a spiritual process.
“Be renewed [and it’s the continuing present tense, be continually and progressively renewed] in the spirit of your mind.”
Understanding comes from yielding up your mind to the Holy Spirit. As the Holy Spirit takes over your mind he’ll bring it into line with the book he wrote, which is the Bible. When the Holy Spirit captivates your mind, your mind agrees with scripture in every point. But it’s a spiritual process.
Then Philippians 2 we find that Christ also sets the pattern for the mind as he did for the will. Philippians 2:5:
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus...”
Learn to think the way that Jesus thought. And if you follow on, which is part of the context, you’ll see that the key word is humility.
“...thou he was in the form of God, he thought it not robbery to be equal with God...”
And so on. He humbled himself to the death of the cross. That’s the mind that was in Jesus. That’s the process of bringing your proud, stubborn mind into captivity, to obedience, to humility and to the death of the cross. The mind has got to undergo its crucifixion. That’s the end of this process. Crucified mind doesn’t argue with God, doesn’t say but. It says amen.
I was talking to a lady here yesterday. I was trying to give her every scripture that would help her. Every time I quoted a scripture she said but. I said, “As long as you go on saying but, I can’t help you.” The but comes from the goat! That’s the all stubborn carnal mind opposing God. Arguing with God. The Bible says nay but O man, who are thou that replies against God? Who are you to argue with God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Remember, you’re the pupil, he’s the teacher.
Now, the one that brings light and understanding to the mind is the Holy Spirit. And in Revelation 1 the Holy Spirit is referred to as also elsewhere in Revelation in a seven fold form which upsets some people but it doesn’t upset me the least bit. Revelation 1:4, the beginning of the greeting at the opening of the book of Revelation.
“John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you and peace from him which is and which was and which used to come, and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne...”
That’s the Holy Spirit.
And then, just to be sure that you don’t think that was a mistake, we get it in Revelation 4:5:
“And out of the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.”
I believe the Holy Spirit is one, don’t nail me as a heretic. But I believe it’s possible to be one and sevenfold. Just as I believe God is both one and triune, three in one. The beautiful picture in nature, of course, of the sevenfold manifestation of the Holy Spirit is the rainbow. Light refracted into the seven colors of the rainbow is a type. The Holy Spirit is the light but he can be manifested in seven related forms. Violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange and red.
Now, what are the seven forms or manifestations of the Holy Spirit in relation to the mind? I believe they’re very clearly given to us in Isaiah 11. I have no question that that is the answer. Isaiah 11:1–3. This is a clear prophecy of Jesus the Messiah.
“There shall come forth a Rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots, and the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might. The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.”
There in the second verse you have the seven forms of the Holy Spirit. The first is unique. The Spirit of the Lord, Jehovah. The Spirit speaks in the first person as Almighty God. Acts 13, the opening verses, the Holy Spirit said to the church at Antioch, “Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I [God] have called them.” See, the Holy Spirit is God. The Father is Lord, the Son is Lord, the Spirit is Lord.
“The Lord is that Spirit...”
So, the Spirit who is Lord.
And then we have three pairs that go together. Are you with me? 11:2, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the first pair. The Spirit of counsel and might. The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. There are the three pairs. I have related them to the seven branches of the candlestick. The central one which had four bowls, each of the other branches only had three bowls. The central stem had four bowls, it’s the Spirit which is the Lord, the Spirit of the Lord. Then you have in pairs branching out from the stem wisdom and understanding, counsel and might, knowledge and fear of the Lord. Those are related. If you have wisdom, you need understanding too. You need perception, you need discernment. If you have counsel, you need might to make it effective. And if you have might you better have counsel so that you don’t do the wrong thing with your might. And if you have knowledge, you desperately need the fear of the Lord to keep you humble. Knowledge puffeth up.
Notice in the third verse the particular statement made about the operation of the Holy Spirit in the life of Jesus.
“This shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord...”
I cannot emphasize too strongly that when you’re baptized in the Holy Spirit you should have more of the fear of the Lord than you had before. If you don’t, I question the validity of your experience because when the Holy Spirit came upon Jesus it made him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord. It must do that for us, otherwise you’d better keep clear of gifts. Believe me, if you have knowledge without the fear of the Lord, you’re headed for a precipice and you’ll go over.
Now let’s look at two things. The illumination of the intellect depends upon the yielding of the will. You cannot have your intellect illuminated till you yield your will. And secondly, the illuminated intellect always reveals the condition of the will. The candlestick was over against the table of shewbread.
Now if your will gets out of order, your illuminated intellect will reveal it but will resent it. Then you will go into darkness. And instead of getting true revelation you’ll get false revelation. Jesus said if the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness? I have a series of studies on Bible psychology which deal with this at much greater length, but I feel it’s necessary to show you this. The place of revelation is the holiest of all, where we’re headed. To receive true revelation, you must be rightly related to the holiest of all. If you’re not in right relationship to the source of revelation, you’ll get false revelation. This is the order of divine revelation and direction of God for the believer. It’s God’s Spirit controls or operates in the believer’s spirit, which controls the believer’s soul, which controls the believer’s body. So, as with everything, the initiative, the source of origin is with God and it must come down this direct line which is represented by this vertical line here. That all depends on the will being yielded to God.
If your will become rebellious and unsurrendered, this line is put askew and you are open to false revelation which will not come to the spirit but will come to the soul when it’s not covered by submission to the Spirit. You see, the order is submission, take your right place. The body must be under the soul. The soul must be under the spirit. The spirit must be under God’s Spirit. As long as your will is right the relationship will be right.
If your will is out of order, then you get another type of revelation from the demons. Time doesn’t permit us to go into that in detail but let me show you the two in James 3. This is so practical. It’s not just abstract or remote. James 3:13 and following. We should take more but time doesn’t permit.
“Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? Let him show out of a good conversation [which means a good way of life] his works with meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not and lie not against the truth.”
Now we have the two different kinds of wisdom. The wisdom which is from above comes by this route, out of the holiest. And we have the wisdom which is not from above, and they’re set in opposition. Let’s look.
“This wisdom that produces envying, strife and confusion descendeth not from above [it doesn’t come out of the holy place], but is earthly [soulish is the correct translation], demonic.”
You see, that’s how false revelation and false direction come to so many people. The unsurrendered will gets this line askew, they’re no longer receiving their revelation from here but it’s coming in at a slant because their will is misdirected and it’s earthly, soulish, demonic. You read the context, it’s perfectly clear that James was writing to Spirit baptized believers.
“For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.”
Don’t have a prayer meeting in your home if the neighbors hear you quarreling with your wife in the kitchen every other night but the prayer meeting night. See? It just won’t do any good. You say you’ve got it all and the neighbors want to know what all? This wisdom doesn’t come from above but is earthly, soulish, demonic.
What is the wisdom that comes from above? Verses 17–18:
“The wisdom that comes from above is first pure...”
And you’ll notice on the table on the shewbread it’s twice said the pure bread on the pure table with the pure frankincense.
“The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.”
We can’t go on in that but I just want you to see how importantly this is related to our spiritual experience.
Turning on to the golden altar of incense, it was four square. It was two cubits high. Everything else was one and a half cubits high, but the golden altar was two cubits high. And then it had horns on top of that. One horn in each corner of the altar. And it had a fire that burned on it and on the fire was not put the body of any animal, there was no sacrificial beast but only the special incense which was compounded according to a special formula and which was prohibited ever to copy or to use in any other situation but on that one golden altar. In other words, to say this simply, the altar of incense basically represents the place of worship in the life of the believer. There is a worship we give to God which we must not even offer to any others. Don’t become a worshipper of preachers because that’s misusing the incense that only belongs on that altar straight on your way into the presence of God.
Now let’s look at the eight features of the golden altar of incense. We’re talking now about our emotions. And remember, God in his order deals first with the will, then with the understanding, then he’s prepared to turn your emotions loose. You should be in control of your emotions, then they’re good. If your emotions are in control of you, then they’re bad. It’s the will that determines. I can dance and turn loose like most people, and more than some. But it isn’t my emotions that make me do it, it’s my will. I don’t know whether you can understand that but I’ve learned to be spiritually directed. I cannot allow my emotions to dictate to me. The less emotional I am, in a certain sense, the more spiritual I am. I don’t know whether you can understand that, some of you will probably be puzzled by it. And that doesn’t mean that I appear unemotional. You might say we never knew Brother Prince could jump three feet in the air. Well, I can and I do at times. But it isn’t my emotions that make me do it. I’m not belittling the emotions but they must come in their right place.
I believe you can give full reign to your emotions when your will and your understanding have been dealt with. But if you do it the other way around you’re the slave of your emotions.
Let’s look at this picture and close. The altar was four square, it was equal in every dimension. That means your emotions must be balanced, not overgiven to one type of emotion. Not too weepy, or too laughy, but on every side balanced.
Secondly, it was protected by a crown. The table of shewbread had two crowns, the golden altar of incense had one. What’s the crown that protects the emotions? Self-control. Remember, you’re in charge of your emotions. Never let them take charge of you.
Thirdly, the fire speaks of intensity, purity, the passion of the soul. So far from God wanting us to be unemotional, he wants us to be passionate. But it’s a controlled purified, directed passion. Catherine Booth ?Clibben?, the daughter of William Booth said somewhere, “Jesus loves us passionately and he wants to be loved passionately.” He certainly does. Passion is part of holiness but it’s got to be in the right relationship and under the right controls.
Fourthly, the incense speaks of devotion made fragrant by the test of fire. Frankincense, they tell me, is a black, unattractive lump until you put it on the fire. Then it becomes wonderfully fragrant.
On the other hand, honey is sweet and pleasant till you put it on the fire. Then it becomes a sticky, black mess. And God said in Leviticus 2:11 he didn’t want any honey on the offerings of the Lord made by fire. No sweet talk and nice phrases if it won’t stand the test of the fire.
So many people come to me and I have to say to myself sometimes I wonder whether that was frankincense or honey I was given. I don’t have to worry because the fire will try every man’s work.
Fifthly, the smoke rising up. Beautiful, fragrant, white smoke is adoration expressed in praise and worship. I’ll try to distinguish briefly between those.
Sixthly, the horns of the golden altar of incense every year on the day of Atonement had to be purified with the blood of the propitionary sacrifice. In other words, our worship must always acknowledge that we only have access by the blood of Jesus. If we ever offer worship that isn’t through the blood of Jesus, it’s totally unacceptable to God. The altar had to be sanctified by the blood.
It was the highest piece of furniture, two cubits high and then the horns above which brought it up approximately to the level of the cherubim on the mercy seat. So when we launch out in praise and adoration and worship, we’re rising up like the smoke of the incense to the highest spiritual levels.
And eighthly, it’s the point of transition from the soul to the spirit, from the holy to the most holy. There’s no other appointed way but the way of praise, worship and adoration.
Now, I have long been occupied in my mind with the correct relationship between praise and worship. I certainly do not claim to say it all but I’ll offer you these thoughts. Praise is essentially an utterance and it’s our response to God’s love. Worship is essentially an attitude. Every word in Greek or Hebrew that I know of that’s translated worship basically implies an attitude. To bow the head, to bow the body or to be prostrate or to lift up the hands. Every single word related to worship is a word that describes a posture. I believe it is correct to say worship is primarily an attitude and it’s our response to God’s holiness. We go in bowed before the holiness of Almighty God.
Then what is holiness? And here’s such a simple way of saying it. Holiness is love united with righteousness. So love says come and righteousness says stay away. That’s the tension of the spiritual life. We’ve got to find a way to satisfy the claims of righteousness so that we may draw near to love.
Then what I’ve already said we’ll just repeat once again. We come to the right use of our emotions only after bringing our will and our intellect into line with God’s requirement. You see, many of you could say this is rather a dry type of study. I’m deliberately staying within certain limits. Actually, I’m disciplining myself much more than you because I could have taken off in five tangents on many of the things I’ve spoken about. But I’m deliberately doing this for your sake. If you’ll go through this mental discipline, the rewards will be great. If you will not submit to discipline, I don’t have much to offer you from God. With that rather controversial sentence I’ll close. Let’s stand to our feet and give the Lord a thank offering.