Turn with me to Hebrews 6: 1-8 : "The Foundational Doctrines".
The Book of Hebrews is the New Testament's "Book of the Wilderness". It mentions the tabernacle, the High Priest and focuses much on the wilderness. It is also prophetic in nature.
In the opening verse of chapter 6, we see the first two foundational doctrines "repentance from dead works" and "faith toward God."
Repentance brings us to the end of ourselves, to the place where we say, "I am spiritually bankrupt and I need You."
The word in this passage which the Lord emphasises is " dead." There is a change from death to life.
Judgment fall on dead works.
Works are weighed with the works of Jesus for the unbeliever. Unbelievers fall short without Jesus' atonement and fail miserably in the Great White Throne Judgment.
Also, dead works of the believer are burned at the bema - the Judgment Seat of Christ, a separate judgment for believers where their works are judged.
This theme of death and life is the central theme of the wilderness. The desert is the place of death. The background of the tabernacle is the wilderness - the place of death.
We see in verse 3 to 8 that the life comes through the Presence of God. "enlightened", "tasted the heavenly gift", "partakers of the Holy Spirit", "tasted the good word of God", "the powers of the age to come", "the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it". A work is dead if it does not have the life of God. If any work is done based solely on the Word of God without a deep anointing of the Presence of God, it is dead. Anything - faith, healing, deliverance, warfare - done apart from the Presence of God is DEAD! This is contrary to much of the theology taught today, especially in the Word-Faith Charismatic world. The Word alone is NOT sufficient!
Not only are we to turn away from DEAD works, but also from DEAD faith too! Much is said about faith in Hebrews. The Faith Chapter of the Bible is Hebrews 11. This seems to be prophetic in these last days. So faith is central to the wilderness as it is in the midst of Hebrews - the Wilderness Book of the New Testament. However, note that DEATH is stamped all over Hebrews 11. The faith here is a LIVING faith marked by the cross and much suffering (KEY 5 Tabernacle Notes) which leads to a living faith - very different from the faith which is taught everywhere today.
Remember that God through James says faith without works is dead. Dead faith. Now many have dead works. Many millions - both those who are Christians and even other religions - are well versed in dead works. Works apart from the Presence of God; works done in the flesh. Only "The Great Death" (see Tabernacle Notes) brings death to the self life completely and produces the fruit of living works. A living faith in the Presence of Jesus. Those who have experienced "The Great Death" will be able to clearly discern between dead and living works.
I strongly suggest that you look carefully at the five keys of the Holy Place mentioned in Tabernacle Notes as they are sure and solid, tried and tested over centuries and accepted by the churches most famous Christians throughout history. They will be a sure guide to the establishment of a rock solid foundation of true and living faith in your life.
The third foundational doctrine "doctrine of baptisms" includes the baptism in water and the baptism in the Holy Spirit. There is also a baptism into suffering. This begins with "the Great Death", a living martyrdom.
Here we see again the death and life. Baptism is symbolic of our identification with the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are dead to the world when we are born again. There is a breaking away from the world which is under the sway of the wicked one. However, there is also a future prophetic view. The "death, burial and resurrection" points us to the coming "Great Death" where we die to the flesh; to our self life; to our own strength.
The "death, burial and resurrection" is the central theme and experience of the Tabernacle. Much concerning this is expounded in detail in Tabernacle Notes.
The baptism in the Holy Spirit goes hand in hand with the next foundational doctrine "laying on of hands". Impartation of the Presence of Jesus Christ. Often (but not always) the baptism of the Holy Spirit is received through the laying on of hands and is always evidenced by the speaking in tongues. Impartation. However, this is only the first fruits of what is to come.
The deep abiding Presence of God is only fully manifest when one has experienced the Great Death and lives only in the 'tent'. The Holy of Holies. This is a deeper, fuller and future state to which the initial baptism in the Holy Spirit points. Saints such as Kathryn Kuhlman have pointed this out that there is an experience after the baptism in the Holy Spirit. There is more. A state of glory. However, the utter death and destruction of our self life and nature needs to take place before we can fully experience this state of glory. Only a few saints ever experience the richness of this state of glory in this life. A taste of eternity.
Those who live in this deep state of glory often impart and minister the baptism of the Holy Spirit to young believers. They impart the Presence of God. Remember that Paul said "Be being filled with the Holy Spirit". In other words, we need to be continually filled with the Spirit. He also implies that our cup can become empty again. This is especially true for a believer who has not experienced the Great Death and who does not live in the state of glory in Jesus.
In the closing verses of chapter 5 - the general context of the Foundational Doctrines, we see that Apostle Paul speaks of babies and maturity. Milk and solid food. The Foundational Doctrines are elementary principles of Christ and are likened to milk. In other words, those who have not fulfilled the foundational doctrines will not progress until they fulfil these elementary doctrines. You need to be baptised in water and baptised in the Holy Spirit. However, those who remain in the Foundational Doctrines are also babies.
In other words, those who make their camp in, say, the second foundational doctrine 'faith toward God', and stay there, are also called babies. This applies to the Word-Faith Movement today. They often seek the hand of God (His Provision and Blessing), but not the face of God.
Some have camped around the third and forth foundational doctrines. The Toronto and Prophetic Movements fall into this camp. They often seek the touch of God but not the face of God.
When camps are built in these foundational doctrines, the teaching of the camp or movement becomes distorted and moves into error.
Those of the wilderness have rather sought the face of God - His fellowship and communion with Him. It is the way of death. Those who have set up camps in the Foundational Doctrines have not been through this death and the wilderness experience. They have not partaken of the solid food and are still babes in Christ.
MILK versus SOLID FOOD
The closing passage of Hebrews 5 contrasts milk from solid food. The Foundational doctrines of Hebrews 6 is compared to milk. What then is solid food? The clue is given in Hebrews 6:16. "enters the Presence behind the veil". In other words, the Holy of Holies. Shekinah glory. The tabernacle. Entering the Holy of holies on a daily and frequent basis for the New Testament believer.
DULL OF HEARING
Jesus also spoke of this. Many hear and read the words that I write. Many see the miracles before their eyes. But few - very few - understand with their hearts. There seems to be a veil over the deeper mystery of the gospel. One can go to great length to explain the things of God, but to no avail unless God grants that person sight. Benny Hinn has spoken of the same thing. People often hear him and some try even to emulate him; but few understand what he is truly saying. There is a veil. Those who have progressed beyond the Great Death and live in the realm of the Holy of Holies often are quiet and say little as they know that unless God does a work in one's heart, one will simply not understand...
MATURITY and QUALIFICATIONS FOR ELDERS
Apostle Paul mentions requirements for elders in 1 Timothy. However, the requirements is not sufficient! Am I adding to the Scriptures? No. It was IMPLIED that those selected were mature Christians; that they no longer dwelt in the outer court at all, they had ALL experienced the Great Death, and had ALL shut the door of the tent and lived in the manifest Presence of Jesus. An elder needs to be an elder! Someone "older" or "mature" in the faith. Not novices (new converts) as stated in 1 Timothy.
In the early stage of the wilderness, Moses communed with God in his own tent. The tabernacle was not yet revealed or constructed. A pillar of cloud would remain at the entrance of his tent as he communed with God. This is in essence the picture of what God desired with us - fellowship through His Presence. However, the children of Israel began to get impatient and constructed a golden calf from the women's golden earrings. Afterwards, Moses moved his tent out of the camp. There was a distance between his tent and the camp of Israel. This was because of the golden calf.
God desires a close, intimate fellowship with His people. This is why we see the two outer court pieces of furniture - brazen altar and brazen laver - in the tabernacle. The laver allows His children to be cleansed and to return to the place of closeness and intimacy. What is the purpose of the brazen altar? Besides pointing to the substitution sacrifice, it is also a type of the cross. It deals with the root cause of the separation - the golden calf. The golden calf represents our self. Our needs. The cross - taking up His cross - crucifies the self life and keeps us from camping at the brazen laver. The cross keeps us from camping at the first foundational doctrine - repentance from dead works. It changes our nature - a deep transformation into His image - and results in that we sin less frequently.
This can occur with a young believer and with a mature believer. The context of Hebrews is a falling away during hardship which is normally when falling away occurs.
A young believer begins to experience Jesus through the Presence of God. He easily overcomes when the Presence of Jesus is manifest. However, he struggles when dry periods come and when the cross comes to him. This introduction to great pain is the most dangerous time in his life. He seeks for a way out of this uncomfortable state. He runs instead of accepting His cross. The memory of the Presence of God and His pleasures can quickly vanish away in the face of the harshness of the cross. The pleasures of the world have been somewhat deadened to him. So when he falls away during the dry periods and returns to the pleasures of the world, his worldly lusts and desires are greater than before. In excess. Unbridled license. To cover his remorse and conscience as well? He is in a worse state that he was in before he knew Jesus Christ.
Most in the church today are in this place and are in danger as the end-time shaking which has already begun continues. The teaching today also does not prepare the believer for what is to come as the cross is seldom taught today.
Sometimes it has been said that those who fall away were never truly born again in the first place. Let us see if there is any truth in this. One who has tasted of His Presence and heavenly pleasures will no longer be easily satisfied with earthly things and pleasures. A refined taste. Accustomed to heavenly delights. Should this person fall back, it will because of wrong motives. He seeks the Lord for His pleasures and does not seek the Lord alone. His state is still the same as it was before. His state has not changed. He is simply looking and seeking for what will make him happy.
A mature believer who has learned to take up His cross and who has been through "The Great Death", will be much more steadfast in trials and hardship. It is difficult for him to fall away and equally difficult for him to return once he has fallen. Actually, it is almost impossible for him to fall except for pride and also equally almost impossible to renew him to repentance should he fall. Remember Satan who was cast out of heaven and who could not return.
There is a place in God that can be reached where nothing satisfies but God Himself. This occurs during the Great Death. To leave God after coming to this place would make this Christian the most miserable person in the whole world. He knows that all things pale in comparison to the Presence of Jesus and the things of God. This is why it is much more difficult for a mature believer to fall away.
Remember that most of the children of Israel fell short or fell away in the wilderness. A robust living faith endures and yields to the cross fully.
ERRORS to YIELDING COMPLETELY to the CROSS
a. Believers have not allowed themselves to be stripped. They have resisted the cross. Sometimes this is the result of unbiblical theology. This is especially true in the early stages of the journey.
Almost every believer who suffers will find themselves seeking too much comfort. Rather than dying he will seek a way out. Often he seeks comfort elsewhere and sometimes in the world.
b. They try to strip themselves. Your own efforts here will only leave you religious and hard or confused.
c. Many who say they are yielding are yielding in name only.
d. Some believers only allow God to strip them in ONE area only. Other areas are off-limits. They are still on the throne in these areas.
Should a believer resist a particular cross, he will often make no further progress in the things of God until he yields to the Lord in this area. i.e. reputation
Some areas are: Prayer- The believer is not free to pray for WHOM he pleases, for WHAT he pleases or even WHEN he pleases. Word of God- only as the Holy Spirit leads. Speech- When the cross enters your speech, dunamis power is present. Essential for powerful ministry. Works.
e. Some believers put LIMITS on how far they are willing to go with God.
Now, if we can put limits on yielding to God, then what is the extreme limit that we can go to? The hope of eternal life. All hope of any personal reward has been yielded to God. Apostle Paul and Moses both spoke of this. i.e leaving past and future at the cross; living in the present moment.
f. Some believers are willing to yield to God... yet only on their OWN TERMS.
g. Becoming bitter; resentful; disappointed in God; unhappy with God; unhappy with his circumstances or station in life.
We do not always understand the will of God, but to trust His sovereignty is completely another matter. When the believer fixes his attention on what God should be (i.e. Prosperity Jesus), and then when God does not act according to his expectation, he will surely suffer disappointment. He is not trusting in His sovereignty. He has a MIXTURE. And the MIXTURE will destroy his faith.
PROMISE is found only on the far side of the desert. The true land of
promise always lies beyond a vast wasteland.
Looking up into the desert skies...
Today, we see signs in the heavens and on the earth ... the sea roars as earthquakes and tsunamis bring fear to many. Luke 21:11,25,26
THE FLYING CROSS- a Sign in the Heavens
Recently a comet looking like a cross was sighted streaming with its tail across the heavens. Let us consider four principles of a robust, true living faith - each principle represented by the points of the cross: post with northern and southern point and the horizontal beam with western and eastern points.
PRINCIPLE 1 (Northern point): True faith is a PERSONAL faith in Jesus, our Lord.
Here the focus is not on the Scriptures, but rather toward Jesus Himself. A personal faith in Jesus is emphasised in all things including doctrine. Needs, blessing, etc. is very much in the shadows. Emphasis is not placed on the "full gospel" but rather on Jesus Himself.
PRINCIPLE 2 (Southern point): Living faith ENTERS THE PRESENCE BEHIND THE VEIL.
Never separate the word of God from the Holy Spirit. In other words, faith is intertwined with the Presence of God. There are times, especially in the early stages of the journey, when His Presence is withdrawn. However, after the Great Death, the resurrection comes with a deep continual abiding Presence of God. Nothing is done 'in faith' based solely on the Word of God and in ones own strength. All things done are done in God and by God.
These two principles alone often result in a SHAKY faith. Often the believer veers toward magnetic north and away from true north. MIXTURE such as hype often enters if we ignore the following two principles as well. They represent the points of the horizontal beam of the cross which brings stability and robustness to the believer's faith.
PRINCIPLE 3 (Western point): True faith is largely a BLIND faith, dependant on the PROVIDENCE OF GOD.
There are prophetic sign posts along the way and He reveals and warns through His continual abiding Presence. However, there is still a blindness as we walk in His Providence receiving all things from His hand; and not from the hand of man or from the hand of Satan.
PRINCIPLE 4 (Eastern point): True faith always has the MARK OF THE CROSS.
Hebrews 11 is stamped with the cross.
Remember, I mentioned before that Malachi speaks of the soap and the refining fire as the two methods of purifying His children. Taking up His cross allows the deep work of God to begin taking place. It is a life long transformation beginning when one first begins to yield to the Lord.
The cross is more on the surface - very important, take great delight in - for quite some time in the believer's journey. The desire for the cross can be rather strong. Later it becomes deeper and more hidden. It becomes the almost unconscious principle of your soul. All your hidden thoughts and innermost actions are under the cross's work. Transformation takes place from internal to external.
Taking up His cross implies that he sees God in ALL of his circumstances. In other works, he sees that the cross comes from the hand of the Lord; and not from the hand of man nor circumstances. Each moment - no matter what it holds - is from His hand. The sacrament of the present moment. The realm of eternity. The God who IS.
A Christian who has progressed this far no longer speaks much of visions, prophecies and revelations. This is more the realm of the Prophetic Movement today, always seeking the word of the Lord. The Christian who has known the cross fully and understands what it means that the cross has become Christ* does not speak much of visions, prophecies and revelations.
He has a pure and simple childlike faith. He sees Jesus and Him alone. He also sees everything differently ... as through the eyes of God! He appears ordinary to a casual observer; but under closer inspection he is very different from other mortals. He is just like the shoe-leather exterior of the tent; but has treasures within.
*The cross will work the work of God in you. But now the work of God will bring the cross to you, and the cross will bring the Lord Himself to you [Guyon].
a. Needs \ Petitions
Leaves all these at the cross. No self at all. Only asks for "His desires" and His desires become your desires as one becomes one with Him. His will alone is done. Most of our walk is taking up His cross. NOT using your faith to change your world. NOT using your faith to fulfil His plans. NOT confessing promises daily. His promises will be fulfilled by God in His time. Leave them at the cross. Walk in His Providence. Remember needs and petitions belong to the Outer Court.
b. Prayer: The believer is not free to pray for WHOM he pleases, for WHAT he pleases or even WHEN he pleases. Understand the cross in prayer. No self life in prayer.
All four principles need to be deeply embedded in our faith giving us a true living robust faith.
How do we define self? Guyon defines self as follows: It is the individual's views, his feelings, the things which he remembers and thinks about, his own personal self-interests and self-reflections. We need to move from being absorbed in our self-life to becoming more and more centred in Jesus Himself.
FAITH and PATIENCE (v11 hope, 12,19 hope)
One of the first truths that a believer needs to learn is to be quiet before God(faith) and to remain before Him(patience) and this coming before Him must be without any request or personal will in any matter. In other words, learning to deal with self is a first principle for a believer to master.
Principle 3 and principle 4 deal with the WILL. This brings us to be PURE. We become pure through a yielded will to His Providence and develop simple, child-like faith.
Most of what is taught today deals with the renewing of the MIND - changing your thinking through the Word of God - (also part of the SOUL). The emphasis seems to be more on the MIND. The emphasis needs to shift more to the WILL. The transformation of the WILL. This transformation into the image of Christ occurs as we become rooted in principle 3 and principle 4.