A Comparison between the Great Pyramid and the Tabernacle, continued
Returning once again to the Great Pyramid let us see just how like the Tabernacle of old it too pictures the steps which lead to the heavenly calling and the Kings Chamber. A little review of the preceding steps however might prove useful before we proceed. As you recall we had determined that like the courtyard of the Tabernacle the “Grand Gallery” likewise pictured all who during the Gospel Age had taken the “first step”, faith in Christ and in so doing passed beyond the “Entrance Curtain” into the faith-justified condition.
Having entered this condition by means of faith and a consecration to righteousness (or right living), it is required of the new believer should they desire to progress and to grow in the graces and knowledge of our Lord Jesus that they climb its passage way to the top if they would reach its completion and intended purpose now during the Gospel Age. This would be liken to those progressing through the courtyard on their way to the Tabernacle proper.
Now as illustrated in Fig. 2 above we have a picture of the condition of those (individuals number 4) that have advanced through faith to the end of this portion of their journey. Perseverance in following the path of faith-justification by the help of the grace of God has led them to the point where they can see (perceive) the further step of sanctification, (the “second step”) just as perseverance in climbing the Grand Gallery by the help of the ramps leads the traveler to the point where he can see the low entrance into the Ante-Chamber.
The “step” itself symbolizes the natural dislike of the human mind to entertain earnestly and sincerely the thought of self-denial and self-sacrifice, for “no man ever yet hated his own flesh” Eph. 5:29. With the help of the grace of God, however, some (individual’s number 5) are enabled by an effort to surmount this difficulty. When they do so, they find that more than half the battle of decision has been won. They are now, for a shorter or longer period, on the halting-place symbolized by the level upper surface of the Step, and can examine more closely the narrow way which lies open before them into the condition of sanctification, and thence to joint-heirship with Christ.
Here as pictured in Individual number 5 they must as the Lord admonishes all who come to this point, “Count the Cost” before preceding any further for unlike the first step which requires nothing of the believer save faith in Christ this next step comes with a price, it requires sacrifice of the individual, not merely the day to day sacrifice of those things rightfully theirs, such as worldly prospects, aims, desires as well as a good name among men all sacrificed for the Lord and for the sake of the brethren, but much more than this, life itself. Should they make the decision to proceed onward they must be willing to follow completely in the Master’s footsteps and this implies a consecration to sacrifice.
The most important part of this consecration is the sacrifice of their earthly or human life rights, their restitutional life rights, rights which were secured to all through the ransom sacrifice of our Lord. Each individual (human) has one opportunity to these rights, once sacrificed or lost they can never be regained; for “Christ dies no more”, they are forfeited forever. Such having entered into a covenant with the Father, a “covenant by sacrifice” Psa 50:5 have pledged to sacrifice these rights in the hope of obtaining a heavenly inheritance, to rise above the human or earthly plane of being to the spirit plane, even the divine plane itself should they be proven faithful until death. A sacrifice placed upon the Lord’s altar once accepted cannot be taken back, but must be fulfilled completely to its end.
They have entered into a contract with God one which cannot be altered nor broken, it must be fulfilled in one way or another, in other words they are presently on trial for life or death, unlike the rest of mankind who will experience their trial in the next age, during the Mediatorial reign. At that time they will be accorded every aid and assistance as they progress up the “Highway of Holiness”.
The opportunity to sacrifice however is given only once, NOW during the Gospel age, this choice will be instrumental in determining ones eternal destiny (that is should they pass their trial for life), it will determine whether they shall remain human beings on the earthly plane for all eternity or spirit beings on the spirit plane for all eternity.
“Behold, now is the accepted time (the receivable time for sacrifice); behold, now (during the Gospel age) is (a) day of salvation (the day or time of the special salvation, “OUR salvation,” the “GREAT salvation,” that is in contrast with the “Common salvation” which will be made applicable to all mankind during the next “day of salvation”, the Millennial age).” 2 Cor 6:2; Isa 49:8; Rom 13:11; Heb 2:3; Jude 3
“The GREAT salvation” must take place first, before the “common salvation” shall be accomplished, for those who experience the “great salvation” are to be God’s instrumentalities through whom the “common salvation” shall be bestowed upon all the world of mankind. They without us shall not be made perfect. (Heb 11:40.)
“These words of the Apostle, quoted from the Prophet Isaiah (Isa 49:8), are generally understood to be a call to the world to improve the present opportunity of accepting Christ by faith in order to salvation, with the warning that the present time furnishes the only opportunity, this being the day of salvation.
But this is NOT the meaning of the text. Neither the Apostle nor the Prophet addresses the world (non-believers). Both address justified, consecrated believers. The class addressed is plainly seen from Isaiah’s prophecy, to be consecrated believers of the Gospel Age–the Christ head and body. It thus reads,
“Thus saith the Lord, In an acceptable time I heard THEE, and in (a) day of salvation have I helped THEE: and I will preserve THEE, and give THEE for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages; that THOU may say to the prisoners (i.e. the rest of mankind still under the sentence), Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Show yourselves.”
It is the anointed, the Christ, head and body, selected and developed during the Gospel Age, which is to accomplish the great work here pointed out–the work of the resurrection, or restitution, in the next age, saying to the prisoners in death, “Go forth,” and to those in the darkness or shadow of death, “Show yourselves.” The Gospel Age now closing, has been the acceptable time for faith- justified believers to offer themselves as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable unto God; because this age was specially set apart by God for the calling and development of this class of sacrificers whose sacrifices are now acceptable.
“Now,” or the accepted time, did not commence until the Gospel Age began, at Pentecost; or rather in the fullest sense it began with Jesus’ sacrifice, dating from his consecration at baptism. The sacrifice of Christ, which actually takes away sin, was the acceptable sacrifice; and it must be an accomplished fact, before any of the condemned sinners could be actually legally justified, so as to be accepted as joint sacrificers and joint heirs with him. When the sacrifice had been made, any (of the faith-justified) who trusted in it were legally justified, their sins being canceled, and the righteousness of Christ imputed to them by faith (their justification becoming vitalized).
Though justified thus by faith in Christ’s redemptive work, none of those justified in this age have been permitted to reach actual restitution to human perfection, that being the privilege not of this the Gospel Age, but of the coming Millennial Age. But that right to human perfection and lasting life, having been secured for all, those who now by faith accept it, are reckoned as now possessing that perfection–as though now perfect men. Such during the Gospel Age have been invited to present themselves as living sacrifices to be used up in God’s service (Rom 12:1), and the assurance is given that whoever thus sacrifices “NOW” during the acceptable time, is accepted of God, and shall in due time receive the reward of the crown, the throne, and the divine nature, as joint-heirs with Jesus Christ whose example they thus follow–after being justified by faith in his sacrifice for their sins.
Those who before the death of Jesus our ransom, trusted in God’s promises, and walked in obedience to God, were not actually justified until the only sacrifice, which could take away sin, was actually offered. Nevertheless their faith shall receive a reward in the times of restitution. But living before the “acceptable” time, they were not informed of the “high-calling” of the divine nature and joint-heirship, and therefore were not invited to thus offer themselves as members of the body of Christ and joint-sacrificers with him. “Now [the Gospel Age] is the accepted time.” “Now is THE day of [the “great”] salvation.”
The class thus called and accepted, the Prophet declares is called and chosen for the special work of accomplishing the salvation of the world–their restitution from death to perfect life in the next age. Then that will also be a day of salvation, –a day of salvation for the entire world. In that day men will neither be called nor permitted to offer themselves as living sacrifices, nor to deny themselves the comforts, joys and righteous liberties then provided for all, but simply to forsake sin and pursue righteousness.
Paul, in referring to these words of the Prophet, urges those who have received this grace [favor] of justification (now during the Gospel age, now during the acceptable time), to see that they receive not THIS grace (this special favor) in vain— (2 Cor 6:2).
This leads us to consider how we could receive the grace of justification in vain.
Since we may not in this age have an actual restitution to perfection, the only special advantage of being justified now, is that it affords us the opportunity of presenting ourselves as acceptable sacrifices, and candidates for the divine nature and joint-heirship with Jesus. Those therefore who have received the grace (favor) of justification through faith in the ransom, who realize that though still imperfect, they are reckoned of God as perfect so long as they rely upon the ransom, and who yet neglect to USE this reckoned perfection, and to present themselves covered by it, as acceptable sacrifices to God’s service within the acceptable time, have received the favor of justification in vain; and consequently they are little, if any better off than the world, whose day of acceptance to favor is in the age coming.
But those who have been justified, and who have ALSO consecrated themselves as sacrifices, may also have received the grace of God in vain, if they turn back to the world and to the gratification of the flesh, despising or ignoring their covenant.
If we would make our high calling and our election sure, we must fully carry out our consecration–even unto death.
Paul had a very clear idea of what a life of consecration meant. He did not have the idea, which many now seem to have, that it simply meant an easy-going tranquility of disposition, which might win friends in every direction, and be at peace with the entire world. No, such is not the experience of those who are faithful at the post of duty; for those who will live Godly in this evil time, shall suffer persecution in some shape or form, and generally in many forms.
Our consecration is to active service for the Master, and a patient uncomplaining endurance of whatever it may cost in the way of sacrifice. Faithfulness to our covenant will not shrink from any service because of the cost, and he that endures unto the end shall receive the crown of life. Let us mark well the example and counsel of Jesus and the Apostles, that we may gain courage and strength by the way.
Paul gives a vivid picture of the true Christian life, which we cannot ponder too carefully:
“Giving no offense in anything [against the principles of truth and righteousness] that the ministry is not blamed. But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonment, in troubles, in labors, in watching’s, in fastenings; by pureness, by knowledge, by long-suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by love unfeigned, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left; by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers and yet true (i.e. teaching truth yet being accused of teaching false doctrines); as unknown (by the world, and the worldly church, the church nominal, and often times by friends and family) and yet well known (to the Lord); as dying, and behold we live; as chastened and not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.” (2 Cor 6:3-10)
What a nondescript is such a life before the world; yet how perfectly this marks out the course of the truly consecrated. It is not a life of easy lethargy; it is not a course that secures the approval and friendship of the worldly minded; it is not a course which secures present temporal advantage; nor is it a course agreeable to the flesh; yet in it, the “new creature” rejoices with joy unspeakable and full of glory, and in every condition gives thanks for the privilege of fellowship in the sacrifices and self-denials with Christ Jesus our Lord and Redeemer.
In the little time, which remains before the glorification of the remainder of the Body–the church, let us endeavor to make our calling and election sure, and thus prove that we have not received the grace of God in vain. If you have made the covenant of sacrifice, even at the eleventh hour, your sacrifice should be on the altar and the fire of zeal under it consuming your time, talents, reputation and all in the heavenly service. Let it be burning briskly, that the odor of sweet incense may ascend (from the Golden Altar) to God, that you may be fully accepted in the Beloved in this acceptable time, and be made partaker of the glory to follow–now at hand.”
We will continue with our next post.