Part 3 ..... “The Inward Bethel....feeding on His life”
In the original story found in Genesis we see how man is given the instructions that he is free to partake of all the trees of the garden EXCEPT from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil ....”And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, 'Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.'” (Genesis 2:16-17).
Again, as there are wheels within the wheel, there is an external dimension of Bethel I see as being a place prepared for those that have heard the call ‘to come out of her my people’. This call to leave the man- made church system can be for some, traumatic and for others, liberating. It is a time of questioning everything that one has ever been taught from that system. Up to this point the believer has endured much stripping and purging in order to bring them to this place where they are able to see and HEAR what the Spirit is saying.
Now is the time where the realization hits them that they have been lied to by the Babylonian system and that many things that they have learned are false and this creates such a shaking within their earth. It not only shakes them to the core but it also creates a hunger for THE truth. This hunger is a good thing and the Lord wants to satisfy it with Himself for He is the Spirit of Truth .... and this nourishment can only come about through the eating of His flesh (word) and drinking of His blood (spirit). This is why the Lord leads his called out ones to Bethel/Eden for it is here that they are given a place to rest and be fed. The Shepherd leads them to this garden of
green pastures and once again they too are told that they can eat of every tree of this garden EXCEPT one.
They are given many trees to eat from (trees are symbolic in scripture of representing people). These trees represent the celestial teachers that the Holy Spirit has provided to those who have made the journey to Bethel. They are free to eat from the fruit of these teachers lives. This is a glorious time of eating, drinking, and fellowshipping and this that I speak of is in the Spirit, not literal eating and drinking natural food but partaking of spiritual food and drink. The Lord delights to give us the Kingdom, he delights in our communion with one another for He is the
LIVING BREAD which has come down from heaven....and all those that are joined to Him also become that living bread in the earth.
Let us hear the word of the Lord ... “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I
will give for the life of the world ..... Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by
the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. (John 6:51;53-58)(emphasis mine).
I find it interesting that the Lord instructs us that in order for us to live we must do two things, eat his flesh AND drink his blood. He makes it very clear that those who eat of His flesh and drink of His blood He will raise at the last day. Those that are DWELLING IN HIM are those that HE DWELLS IN .... these are they who are eating of His flesh and drinking of His blood. The Lord explains that just as He lives by the Father so too as we eat of Him we will live by Him. Now this is a mystery indeed. This is not a work that we can do but that He does in us. “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Phil.2:13).
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Eph 2:10) He gives us the appetite for His word and gives us the thirst for His Spirit .... He is the one who will “make you perfect in every good work to do His will, doing in you that which is well-pleasing before Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom is the glory -- to the ages of the ages! Amen.” (Heb.13:21). This is rest, knowing that He is the one who brings this about within us. He is the one who gives us the grace to utter the prayer “Lord help me to yield today to your workmanship” and “Lord help me today to learn what it is that you want to teach me”.
Brother Prinzing shares so beautifully this point of how it is all HIS WORK, HIS LIFE that brings this about within us ..... “Though all natural illustrations have their limitations, yet they also give us glimpses into principles of truth. In those areas of our country where we have the change of seasons, with summer and winter, we find there are certain trees, rose bushes, types of shrubbery, etc. that seem to often retain their leaves in the fall -- brown, dead, yet clinging to the branch. The winds and snows of winter cannot remove them. But come spring, with the upsurge of NEW LIFE, the inner life that flows outward through the branch will force the old leaves to fall off, that the new leaves might appear. It does no good to condemn the tree in the fall, the brown leaves hang on. You might carefully try to pick them off one by one. Or, you can wait till that NEW LIFE FLOWS, and then the INNER LIFE accomplishes what all the exterior condemnations could never do.
Furthermore, as the new life emerges, it does not carry on with harsh inditements, "get out of my way, you ugly, dead leaf." It simply LIVES, it quietly expresses its life, and everything that bespeaks of death falls away.
The more we are POSSESSED BY THE LIFE OF THE CHRIST, we will not condemn ourselves, nor anyone around us, concerning the things of the flesh, for HIS LIFE will cause them to drop off, while all the more HE is manifested in the positiveness of His victory.” (End quote).
I love that quote ... it is so beautifully true. How gentle are His ways....truly it is His gentleness that makes us great. How glorious and good is our Father! It really is all about the simplicity of Christ. Did not our Lord teach us how to pray? He instructed us to pray for our DAILY BREAD. Each day I ask my Father to give me His daily bread that He has for me and my family. I also ask for His grace to see it (his daily bread)...for the grace to recognize it when it is given .... and for the grace to learn what it is that He wants to teach me so that I am NOURISHED by Him. He is so good to hear and answer this prayer....for once again it is HIM that is working in me to will and to do ..... all praise to His most glorious name!
What does this daily bread look like to you my beloved? I will tell you what it looks like for me in this season that the Lord has me in. I see his daily bread in the four little loaves that He has given me to raise, these four loaves are my precious little children. I see, taste, touch and experience His daily bread in the glorious gift that He has given to me in my beloved husband. Truly, these five precious loaves that the Lord has given to me is His daily bread that brings nourishment to my body, soul, and spirit. I find His expressions, His words, His tenderness, correction, joy, comfort, encouragement, love, truth, wisdom in the lives/bread of my husband and children .... I am nourished by my Lord through their voices, their hugs and kisses, their laughter, their tears, their questions, their trials, their triumphs ..... many lessons are taught to me through my family....the Lord uses them in such intricate ways to process me and conform me INTO His image. I give you praise Lord ..... oh how I love you so. Oh yes, the Lord also gives to me His daily bread found in the lives of many others as well....those that have shared in His cross, that know Him and His ways. These are those that not only know the written word but have had the breath of the Spirit write it upon their hearts and are now BECOME His living epistles that are read by all men. I praise you Lord.
As we eat of His flesh(Word) and drink of His blood(Spirit) we shall dwell in Him and live by Him. “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”(Jhn.15:5) This is UNION. This is the union that Jesus spoke of when ‘Jesus gave them this answer: "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” (Jn.5:19). I am amazed at how the Lord will allow circumstances to touch our lives to not only show us the truth that APART FROM HIM WE CAN DO NOTHING but also to let us EXPERIENCE this truth in our daily lives. I can testify to the truth that I have been learning this lesson daily and I dare say it has been quite painful...for it has been a year of new emptyings, new strippings, new purgings and yet all of this has happened for my GOOD in order that He can FILL me with His strength and BE my strength. It is one thing to quote the verse “The Lord is my strength” .... and quite another thing to KNOW HIM AS STRENGTH....truly this is when the scripture becomes REALITY within. He would have our eyes so singular upon Him that whatever He is gazing at we would be too. He would have our hearts beat in such rhythm with His that whatever moves His heartbeat moves ours too. This is what He is doing within us as we feed on His life....as the old saying goes .... ’you are what you eat’ ..... so true indeed ..... we are becoming ONE in His life.
It is in eating of His flesh that we are renewed in our mind and are able to discern the difference between the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (soul) and the tree of life (spirit).
“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Heb.4:12).
There are many within the ekklesia that have yet to come into the understanding that the Word is LIVING .... the WORD is Jesus Christ Himself .... ”The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14). Not only does He dwell among us but He dwells WITHIN us .... ”Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:21).
Just yesterday a dear friend of mine retold a conversation she had with another christian lady. In this conversation my dear friend was retelling how this lady spoke of her love for the Word (the letter) and how she loves those that also see the Word as very black and white. My precious friend was troubled by this statement but didn’t really know why .... I then explained to her the reason she had a check in her Spirit was because THE WORD is living...and COLORFUL .... He is Spirit and in Him is LIFE. “Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” (2 Cor.3:6).
These beloved children of God, like this precious lady mentioned above, know Him as the letter. He is the man that walked the shores of Galilee two thousand years ago, the man that fed the five thousand with only a couple of loaves of bread and a few fish. They have read of this man in the holy scriptures and believe in this man. They have even put their trust in this man for their salvation but they still don’t really KNOW this man. They still have not really come to know His voice within. They look to their daily devotional to hear ‘a word’. There is nothing wrong with enjoying a daily devotional, I enjoy reading one too and yet I am very much aware that the Lord uses it as he does with other writings including the scriptures to CONFIRM what He has been speaking WITHIN.
All we have to do is remember back to the dark ages, a period of time where Father’s holy sons and daughters were not permitted to read the scriptures on their own. These saints were not given access to the holy scriptures, they certainly did not have access to any lexicons or a concordance either, and yet it was during this time that some of the greatest REVELATIONS of God were given. How did this happen? Jesus was the LIVING WORD .... they came to know His voice within. As Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27). These precious sheep of the dark ages sat at His feet and heard Him. He would then open up their spiritual eyes to see some of the most glorious mysteries hidden in the scriptures. I have been enriched by the broken bread found within the life of a precious daughter of the King that lived in the 1600's. I sit in awe as I read what the Lord allowed her to see and experience. She knew THE WORD on such an intimate level as very few have known Him. She knew His voice WITHIN. This is true for all those that FEED ON HIS LIFE .... I give Him praise even now.
Continued in Pt. 4 “The Inward Bethel .... Sinking Into”