0 / 0
THE teaching of the Law, in type and testimony, is to the effect that God purposed to raise up a great Priest, who would also be a King; and that this priestly King and kingly Priest should cancel the sins of the people, and be invested with power to rule, and with authority as a Mediator to help them back to God. To the surprise of the typical people, Israel, instead of assuming the office of Priest and King in conjunction, He merely died!—Luke 24:20,21.
Then came the time for the Holy Spirit to reveal to the Church what had previously been a mystery; for when God had through the Prophets spoken of Messiah as a King upon His Throne, He had declared that which would be mysterious to the people—would not be easily understood. God had purposely kept His Plan a secret until the due time for revealing it should come. The secret was—"Christ in you, the hope of glory."—Colossians 1:26,27.
In other words, our Lord Jesus is, primarily, the Anointed One and, according to the Scripture testimony, is very highly exalted. But He was not the completion of the Divine arrangement regarding the Anointed. The Heavenly Father purposed not to have Jesus alone, but that He should be the Head of the Anointed, and the Church the Body. (Eph. 1:22,23; 5:29-32; Col. 1:24.) This was the Mystery. The great Messiah was to bless the world as the antitypical Prophet, Priest, and King. God appointed Jesus as the Head, and elected certain saintly ones to be the members of His Body. Until this Body of Christ was complete, the blessing promised to Abraham could not come upon the world.—Gal. 3:16,29.
The terms upon which any may come into membership in Christ's Body—may be members of the anointed Priest and King—are that they walk in His steps. If we desire this privilege, we must present our bodies living sacrifices, as He presented His. Additionally, we must have Him as our Advocate, that we may be enabled to fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ. So, the Apostle says, we were called to suffer with Christ, that we might reign with Him.—Col. 1:24; 2 Tim. 2:12.
Not until this work is completed can there be Restitution to the world. The blessing of the world cannot begin until this great Priest-King is complete and inducted into office. Then as the Mediator of the New Covenant, He will bring the promised blessings to mankind in general. The entire Scriptures seem to give this thought, and this alone. In no other way can we explain why, after God's promise to send a Redeemer, and after that Redeemer had come, and had died, "the Just for the unjust," the work of Restitution (Acts 3:19-21) should not have immediately proceeded. Throughout this Age there has been the work of selecting the Church. In the immediate future are the Times of Restitution, when the Lord, at His Second Coming, shall have received His members to Himself on the plane of glory.
The Scriptures declare that our Lord Jesus was holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners. Hence He would need no sin-offering on His own behalf. Yet the Scriptures say that He needed first to offer for Himself, and then for the people. (Heb. 7:26,27.) Here we see clearly shown the Church as a part of Himself—different from the world in general.
The entire work of the Church at the present time is the sacrifice of the human life. As Jesus will be the King of Glory, so we shall be the under-kings; as He will be the great Priest, so we shall be the under-priests. The parallel is found throughout the entire Scriptures. If our understanding of this were taken away, we should be practically in the same darkness as we were before we got the Truth. The Mystery is that we are to be associated in the sufferings of Christ now, and in His glory in the future. Whoever has not yet found this key has not yet found the Plan of God, in its simplicity and beauty.
God ordained that the kings of Israel should be anointed, and that the High Priest of Israel should be especially anointed. We are to remember that there is an antitypical King and an antitypical Priest—Christ, the great Prophet, Priest and King—who is to bring blessing to the human family as a whole. We perceive that in the type there was an under-priesthood, and the Apostle points out that there is an antitypical under-priesthood associated with Jesus and His work.
The word anointed is the English translation of the Hebrew word Messiah, and its equivalent in the Greek is Christos, Christ. So, then, our thoughts properly turn to Christ as the Anointed of God. He is to do the great work appointed by the Father. We look back and see when He received His anointing. It was not when He was in the Heavenly courts, nor when He became a human being. He was not yet the Anointed One, though He was in full harmony with the Holy Spirit of God.
But there came a certain experience to our Lord when He was thirty years of age. At that time He consecrated Himself to do the Father's will and work. Then [R5392 : page 36] it was that He received the special anointing. This constituted Him in an incipient sense the anointed King and Priest of God. Still He was not ready to take His great power and reign; but if He proved faithful in carrying out His covenant, He would in due time become in the fullest sense the great Anointed of God, would reign over the earth for a thousand years, and subsequently would have further great honors and privileges. We can see all this very clearly portrayed in respect to our Redeemer.
To whom, then, does the Apostle in 1 John 2:27 refer in the words ye and you? The Heavenly Father purposed, as previously stated, that more than our Lord Jesus should constitute this Anointed One. He purposed that the Lord Jesus should be the Head of an anointed company, who should constitute His Body. And this is implied in the type in the under-priesthood, who received a measure of the anointing oil. They prefigured the real Priesthood to come: "Ye are a Royal Priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light."—1 Peter 2:9.
And as we further study, we find that this is the Mystery mentioned in the Scriptures: to wit, that the great Messiah so long promised should be composed of many individuals; and that these many individuals, with the exception of the Head, should be gathered out from the children of wrath, from fallen mankind, and should be justified through the merit of their Head—the merit of His human sacrifice.
All, then, who have joined the Lord are counted as members of that one Body, "the Church of the Living God," "the Church of the first-born," whose names are "written in Heaven." (1 Tim. 3:15; Heb. 12:23.) Looking back to the institution of the Church, we see that it could not be instituted until Jesus had presented Himself as a sacrifice, that the merit of His sacrifice might be made applicable to all those who would become members of His Body—those who would make the same consecration unto death that He had made, and who would then walk in His footsteps.
At that very time there were some of this class waiting. They had been Jesus' disciples, hearkening to His words. They believed His testimony that if they would take up their cross and follow Him they should partake of His glory. Under the influence of this promise they became His followers. But they could not receive the anointing until He had made satisfaction for their sins. Therefore our Lord instructed them to wait at Jerusalem until this blessing came upon them. The Scriptures tell us that the anointing came upon them at Pentecost. It came from the Father through Christ, after His ascension. Indeed, St. Paul tells us that all blessings come from the Father, who is the Fountain of blessings; and all come through the Son, who is the Channel.—1 Corinthians 8:6.
Just what the anointing is, is difficult for us to comprehend or to explain. Only in proportion as we comprehend it can we make it plain to others. The Lord has endeavored to make it as plain as possible to us by the use of various terms and figures. He calls it a begetting, in the sense that a new life is started. The spiritual nature begins in us at the moment we receive this begetting. And whoever receives it cannot retain it unless he grows and has the Lord's Spirit perfected in him.
This Spirit is spoken of in the Scriptures from various standpoints—apparently with a view to giving us a conception of it, and with the thought that it is a difficult matter to grasp. It is called the Spirit of Truth. No one can have the Holy Spirit and be in ignorance of God; and his growth in spiritual things will be in proportion to his growth in knowledge. If he does not grow in knowledge, he cannot grow in the Spirit; therefore this Spirit is called the Spirit of the Truth.
It is called also the spirit of a sound mind; for our judgments are all imperfect and human and naturally, therefore, contrary in some respects to the mind of the Lord. And the transforming influence which gives us a new view of matters and enables us to see things from God's standpoint is the influence of the Holy Spirit; therefore, it is called the spirit, or disposition, of a sound mind.
It is called the spirit of love; for only in proportion as we cultivate this Godlike quality can we receive this spirit. Whoever has not the spirit of love cannot have the Holy Spirit. Love is necessary before we can receive this Spirit. God is Love. And so all must be of this disposition who would be His—they must be in sympathy, in harmony with Him.
It is also called the spirit of obedience in the sense that those who possess this Spirit desire to do the will of God. It is an anointing in the sense that it is the qualification by which God recognizes us as His children and as those who are heirs of His promises and who are to consider themselves His ambassadors. He recognizes only those who are thus designated by the Holy Spirit. These are to fill the office of kings and priests.
These various definitions and descriptions of the power and influence of the Spirit enable us to better understand the matter. The term Holy Spirit stands in a broad sense for any holy influence or power or disposition emanating from God. The phrase covers the thought of the spirit of Truth and the spirit of righteousness, because all that is true and right is of Divine arrangement and order. This is the Holy Spirit, or holy influence, or holy power, then, that works in any way that God may choose. It may be through the Word of Truth given out through the printed page, or it may be made manifest through the influence of the life and example of some of God's people—but in whatever way it operates, it always operates for good.
Because the matter was so hard to understand, the Lord, in the first place, gave the early Church special signs, which were called gifts. Some received the gift of tongues, some the gift of performing miracles, and some the special gift of healing. Then there were other gifts that the Lord gave, such as Apostleship, etc. But these different gifts were merely manifestations of the Holy Spirit at that time. The gifts were not the Holy Spirit, but were manifestations of the Holy Spirit. After they had accomplished their work in the early Church, those gifts passed away. This does not mean that the Holy Spirit ceased to be the begetting power amongst the Lord's people; but unless there had been some such manifestation of the power of God in the beginning, we would not have been so well able to understand the facts. Jesus, before Pentecost, communicated His Spirit to His disciples and enabled them to work miracles.—Luke 10:17-20.
A measure of the Spirit is given to all the Lord's children to be profited by, to make use of. And so we see that when the gifts of the Holy Spirit passed away, the fruits of the Spirit remained, to be manifested and developed. "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance" [R5393 : page 37] (Galatians 5:22,23); and a person after receiving the Holy Spirit will begin to manifest this fruit of the Spirit. If one does not manifest this fruit, there is every reason to doubt if he has been begotten of the Spirit.
If a person has some of these qualities, we are to remember that some are naturally quite gentle, meek. We are not, therefore, to think it a proof of the possession of the Holy Spirit, if one has a little meekness and gentleness. He might have these qualities naturally. But we should expect that when a knowledge of the Truth comes, instead of being heady and puffed up, he would be all the more gentle and meek. Wherever we see a boastful, heady, haughty spirit, unloving, unkind, etc., we would have reason to think that the Holy Spirit had not been received, or was not making proper development in that heart.
This is a matter regarding which the Lord does not allow us to judge others; but He expects us to judge ourselves. Whoever has this Holy Spirit should develop it. Those who have been begotten of the Holy Spirit had previously come into the proper attitude of mind to receive it, and the Lord is pleased to begin there the work which is so difficult for us to understand. This Spirit of God brings rest, peace, joy, because we have submitted ourselves to God. And this peace and joy should increase more and more, as we are more and more filled with the Holy Spirit.
The Bible tells us that the Lord Jesus had the Spirit without measure. But we, in our imperfect state, are not able to receive the Holy Spirit in the same measure. If our hearts are entirely emptied, then they may be made the fuller. But if there be errors of doctrine in our mind and heart, these will prevent us from receiving the fulness of the Holy Spirit. Gradually the New Creature will cast out the earthly mind, and will get rid of the errors of doctrine, etc., that have been hindrances. And as we get rid of these we shall be made partakers of the Holy Spirit in an abounding measure.
The Holy Spirit that we receive of Him is our assurance that we belong to the Lord. And as long as this Spirit abides in us, it is a witness and a guarantee that we are still the Lord's. Both classes, the Little Flock and the Great Company, receive the anointing of the Lord, the begetting of the Holy Spirit. The Apostle says that "we are all called in the one hope of our calling." (Eph. 4:4.) We all have received this Anointing of the Holy Spirit, or we could not belong to the Body of Christ at all. It is now a matter of development.
Those who continue to develop in the Spirit of the Lord will attain a place on the Throne with Jesus. But there will be some who will not be accounted worthy to reign with Him; yet they have received of the Lord this anointing, this begetting. These will not be of the Body of Christ, because they failed to progress on account of lack of zeal in carrying out their covenant.
In the type of the high priest the anointing oil ran down over the garments. In the antitype the anointing of our Lord Jesus has flowed down over all the Body since Pentecost, giving us this special relationship with the Heavenly Father. The anointing which comes upon the Lord's people must sooner or later affect their outward conduct by manifestations of greater meekness, patience, brotherly-kindness, affection and generosity of word and deed. All of this is illustrated in the anointing oil used upon the kings and priests of Israel, which typified the Spirit from which we have an anointing, or lubrication.
But this smoothing and softening of character must not be expected to take place suddenly, as was the case with the change in our minds; on the contrary, it will come gradually. Nevertheless, the renewed will is to take control of the earthly body and impart its spirit and disposition to it so far as possible, and should begin the work at once. If the spirit, or disposition, of love to God dwell in one richly, it will soon be manifest to some extent. Let us be constantly on the alert to grow in the spirit of love and obedience, and to let the Spirit of Christ dwell in us richly and abound.
No one can be a member of the New Creation before being anointed of the Holy Spirit, or begotten of the Holy Spirit. The purport of the Scriptures is that a double work is necessary, the one part applying to the flesh, the other to the New Creature. That which is sacrificed is not the New Creature, and that which is anointed is not the old creature. We repeat: It is the New Creature that is anointed, and it is the old creature that is sacrificed.
The anointing and the begetting of the Holy Spirit are practically the same thing and quickly follow justification. It is as justified men that we are baptized into death, and it is as members of the New Creation that we are constituted members of the Ecclesia, or Body of Christ. It is the Father's acceptance of us that is the basis of our begetting of the Holy Spirit, our anointing.
While the two terms, begetting and anointing, are used to represent what is to us practically the same thing, they are two different figures. The begetting thought is one that pertains to the state of the new life, the state of the new nature. The anointing thought pertains to the office. God is calling out a people to become joint-heirs with Christ in the Kingdom. The anointing is the Divine recognition of them as kings and priests. So far as we are concerned, the matter is represented by both expressions.
The word Christ signifies anointed. God has declared that He will have an anointed King and High Priest to be His Agent in the blessing of the world. He has declared that that great King is, primarily, the Lord Jesus Christ. He also declares that instead of the Lord Jesus being the sum-total of the Anointed One, it is His good pleasure that there shall be members added to Him. And the adding of these members has been the completing of this Anointed One.
Our coming into the Body is our coming under the anointing. One is a member of the Anointed the instant he is begotten. In thinking of the begetting and the anointing, we are merely viewing the matter from two different angles. We of today were not anointed eighteen hundred years ago, although the anointing came at that time upon the Church. The anointed office may be forfeited, without the spirit-begotten life being forfeited, as in the case of the Great Company.
But the instant we are individually inducted into that Body, that instant we come under the anointing. "The anointing you have received of Him abideth in you." Our share of it is just as much a personal matter as was the begetting. Let us repeat the statement: Our begetting is individual—our baptism, or anointing, is collective, but the one is as personal as the other.
The anointing that came upon the Church at Pentecost and that ran down upon all added Jewish members subsequently, was the same anointing that Jesus received at Jordan, the same anointing that was later poured out [R5393 : page 38] upon the Gentiles, as manifested first in the case of Cornelius and his friends, when "the Holy Spirit fell upon all them which heard the Word" at the mouth of St. Peter. It is the same anointing that has come down throughout the Age upon all the members of the Body—all the one anointing.
But while it is the same anointing, or baptism, yet Cornelius had no share in the anointing, or baptism, at Pentecost, nor had the disciples any share in the anointing at Jordan; for it did not become a personal matter to any member until he was individually begotten, and thus inducted into the Body. To our understanding the one thought appertains to both of these different features, as illustrating different parts of the process.
At the beginning, Jehovah God foreknew and foreordained that one hundred and forty-four thousand should constitute the Anointed One, of which Jesus is the Head. And He made the arrangement that all those begotten of the Spirit should thereby come into that Body, and be counted as its members. These have their names written as such in the Lamb's Book of Life. But He also made the arrangement with them that if any of them failed to keep the terms of their covenant, they would cease to be members of that Body class. And this class evidently will in glory consist of the one hundred and forty-four thousand, although many other thousands have been associated with them all through the Gospel Age; not all, however, have maintained their standing.
"To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My Throne." (Rev. 3:21.) The grand outcome of the matter, the fixity of the matter, is in the future. All those who come to the Lord, come through consecration, and are for the time being counted in as members of this anointed class. And the anointing will abide with them so long as they continue in this condition of obedience.
The expression, begetting of the Spirit, then, is used in the Scriptures to describe that personal experience by which God accepts the individual as a New Creature, and starts the new nature. This new nature subsequently prospers, develops, and if faithful will be born of the Spirit. The terms begetting and birth are used symbolically [R5394 : page 38] to represent the beginning and the completion of the New Creature.
The baptism, or anointing, of the Spirit, of course, relates to the same Holy Spirit, and in some measure to the same experiences as the begetting, but from a different angle. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is not a thing that comes to us individually, but collectively. The baptism of the Holy Spirit came upon the Church at Pentecost and was not repeated day by day, nor ever, except in the case of Cornelius, the first Gentile convert, and "his kinsmen and near friends," whom he had called together in his house to hear the words from the lips of the Apostle Peter. At that time a similar baptism to that of Pentecost was granted—"the Holy Spirit fell upon all them which heard the Word" (Acts 10:24,44), indicating that the Gentiles also were to have an opportunity to become members of the Anointed.
The word baptism signifies immersion. St. Paul explains that we are all baptized, or immersed, or anointed, by the one Spirit into one Body. The anointing, or baptism, of the Spirit came first to our Lord Jesus, extended down to the Church at Pentecost, and has been with the Church as an anointing ever since. All of us who come to God, by Christ, confessing our sins and asking forgiveness through His merit, and who yield ourselves to be dead with Him, by baptism into His death, are immersed into membership in His Body, thus coming under the anointing.
The result of this action is two-fold; we become, first of all, members of Christ in the flesh, and He accepts us and treats us as such. We are first baptized, or immersed, into death—His death, His Baptism. Then the figure changes; and we are raised up out of this baptism into death, as New Creatures. Thereafter our flesh is counted as His flesh. So our relationship to Christ is two-fold: one appertaining to the flesh, the other to the spirit.
Very many have not noticed this double relationship to Christ—as New Creatures, and also in the flesh. The force of this is brought to us in the words of the glorified Christ to Saul of Tarsus: "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou ME?...I am Jesus whom thou persecutest." (Acts 9:4,5.) Thus our Lord declared that the persecution of the Church in the flesh was a persecution of Himself. What the Church suffers is a part of the sufferings of Christ. The sufferings of Christ will not be filled up until the last member of His Body shall have finished His course.
Our membership in the spiritual Body of Christ is also two-fold. First we have a tentative membership at the present time—though we are accepted of God as if it were complete. Thus the moment of the acceptance of our consecration is the moment when we receive the Holy Spirit. We are consecrated with Christ unto death—we are risen with Him as New Creatures, sharers with Him in His resurrection. And yet this number, begotten of the Holy Spirit and thus associated with Christ in membership in the spiritual Body, contains three classes: (1) The Little Flock, which will be the Body of Christ beyond the veil, the "more than conquerors"; (2) the Great Company, who will fail of being of that highest class, but who will be companions of the Bride class (Psalm 45:14); (3) some who will become reprobates and go into the Second Death.
It is not for us at the present time to pass judgment upon any one. It is not for us to say that this one or that one belongs to the Little Flock or to the Great Company. According to the Scriptural instructions, we know that the Lord will not make public His decision of this matter until the end of this Age. Then He will make a decision as to those who will receive the higher nature and those who will receive the subordinate nature.
We are all "called in the one hope of our calling" (Eph. 4:4), and it is for each of us to make our calling and election sure. Our trials, our difficulties, our weaknesses, are so different that only the Lord will know or can determine who are worthy. The Apostle declares that He would not even judge himself, let alone others. There is one that judgeth, even Christ.
The Church of the First-borns, that is to say, all who will attain to perfection of life, everlasting life, as the First-born company, are in comparison with the world a small number. The picture of humanity that our Lord gave in the Sermon on the Mount represented the world of mankind in general as going down the broad road to destruction. Then He depicted a narrow way leading to life, a way that He Himself opened up and made possible. He tells us that of those who find this narrow way only a few, comparatively, will enter it and walk in it.
In another Scripture we are told that all who go on the broad way will ultimately be brought to a knowledge [R5394 : page 39] of the Truth, and by Messiah's Kingdom will be enlightened and blessed with an opportunity for coming into harmony with God; and that in that time there will be a Highway for their return to human perfection. Here, then, we find three ways. In the present Age, however, there is only one way leading to life.
Examining what the Scriptures say as to who will gain life everlasting as a result of the present life, we find that merely the Church of the First-borns get this blessing. The life that will come to the world will be attained gradually during the thousand years, when step by step they will rise up, up, UP to perfection. But the life that is offered now must be striven for under adverse conditions. We are to receive it by (1) begetting, and (2) resurrection to perfection. This resurrection we shall receive at the close of this Gospel Age.
The Scriptures show us that of the two classes who will attain this great blessing, one class will come off conquerors and get spiritual life, but not the highest. The other class will come off "more than conquerors," and reach resurrection on the highest plane. These will be of the Divine nature. In this class we are striving to have a place—to share with Christ in the Chief Resurrection. Those who lag behind and are careless of their consecration vows will nevertheless be finally put to the test. Matters will so narrow down with them that they will be obliged to determine whether they will prove their loyalty to God or not. Those among them who wilfully sin will go into the Second Death. Those who strive for everlasting life will be brought to perfection in a great time of trouble, even though they will lose the great prize of joint-heirship with Christ.