What is the Church? It is Christ in living
union with His own, that wheresoever two or three are
gathered together in His name there He is in the midst. That
is the Church. You do not build special buildings and call
them "the Church." You do not have special organisations,
religious institutions, which you call "the Church."
Believers in living union with the risen Lord constitute the
Church. This is the reality, not the figure. That is to say,
His flesh, human limitation, is done away. Now in union with
Christ risen all human limitations are transcended. This is
one of the wonders of Christ risen as a living reality. We
are brought into a realm of capacities which are more than
human capacities, where, because of Christ in us, we can do
what we never could do naturally. Our relationships are new
relationships; they are with heaven. Our resources are new
resources: they are in heaven. That is why the Apostle wrote
to the Corinthians and said that God hath chosen the weak
things, the foolish things. The things which are despised,
and the things which are not, that He by them
might bring to naught the wise, the mighty, the things
which are. Why did God appoint it so? Because it is
not by might, nor by power, but by His Spirit; and to show
that there are powers, energies, abilities for His own which
transcend all the greatest powers and abilities of this
That is the history of God's people, and
that is where so many people go wrong. Men of the world look
upon Christians and for the most part do not think much of
them. They measure them by the standards of the world, and
say: Well, they are rather a poor lot; their calibre, is not
much! But men of the world are unable to measure spiritual
and heavenly forces. They are unable to see what is
happening when a few of these poor, weak, foolish, despised
things get together and pray. They cannot see through these
and observe that when these few weak believers are together
before God, governed by the Holy Spirit, things are being
moved to the bounds of the universe, the whole hierarchy of
Satan is being stirred to its depths, and the powers of
heaven are being brought into operation. That is God's way,
and the world never can measure that. Nor can that be done
by human wisdom, strength, ability at its greatest. God has
chosen weak things for that. Why? Simply because weak things
in their dependence are the best instruments, the best means
of giving God a chance of showing that such works are not of
any human sufficiency at all, but all of Himself.
Please take no comfort from the fact that
God has chosen weak things and foolish things and say: Well,
I am that, and therefore it is all right! The point is, Are
you in God's hand bringing to naught the mighty, the wise?
It is not a case of a resting back on our weakness, and our
foolishness, and our nothingness, and saying: That applies
to me; that is all right; that is all that matters! That is
not all that matters. The thing which matters is that I,
being a weak, foolish nobody, may know resurrection union
with Christ in all His mighty power, and in that union with
Him mighty spiritual things should be done through me. That
is the positive side.
Heaven and earth are united in Christ
risen. Yes, He is in heaven, and yet He says: "I am with you
all the days." Or again, we have the statement, "I go to the
Father," and at the same time the promise: "I will take up
my abode in you." Stephen, in the hour of his death, saw the
heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand
of God, and yet that Son of Man by His Spirit was in
Stephen, for Stephen is declared to have been a man full of
the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is the Spirit of Christ. So
Christ Who is in heaven is also within, and heaven is also
within, and heaven and earth are one in the risen Christ.
Christ was seen in heaven by Saul of Tarsus on the way to
Damascus, and yet He says to Saul: "Why persecutest thou
me?" When Saul was persecuting believers the Lord Jesus
clearly intimated that while He was up there He was also
here, and that when Saul touched believers he touched Him.
Heaven and earth are one in the risen Lord.
Typically this is represented by Jacob's
ladder. Jacob lighted upon a certain place, and took of the
stones of that place and lay down, making them his pillow.
"And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth and
the top of it reached to heaven: and, behold, the angels of
God ascending and descending on it: and, behold, the Lord
stood above it..." Heaven and earth had become united in
that ladder. Carry that right over, and mark the spiritual
interpretation given in the Lord's words to Nathaniel:
"Afterward thou shalt see the heavens opened and the angels
of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man." What
is the meaning of this? It is plainly that Christ is the
ladder. Christ has joined heaven and earth in His risen
Person. The heavens are opened because of the work of His
Cross. The limitation has gone, the barrier has been
removed, and in Christ we are joined again with heaven.
That means that with an opened heaven the
Holy Spirit of anointing is given. In Him we come to share
in Christ's anointing. The heavens were opened, and the
Spirit descended and lighted upon Him. That is the type.
After His death, burial, and resurrection the heavens were
opened to Him, and the Spirit was given to Him without
measure. Then from that time believers were baptized into
Christ, and, being baptized into Christ, they came under the
anointing of Christ. Be careful that you do not strain after
a personal anointing. Remember your anointing is always in
Christ, under Christ as the Head upon Whom the anointing
rests. Many perils are bound up with a seeking for a
personal anointing as such. However, that is just by the
way. Baptized into Christ, in union with the risen Lord, the
Spirit of the anointing rests upon us, because it rests upon
Him. We are baptized in one Spirit into one Body.
Thereafter everything is from God.
Everything is directly of God; no types now, no
intermediaries, but everything directly of God. That means
that the opened heaven gives us immediate access to God, and
that God is not now far off, away from us there in heaven
apart. Heaven and earth are united in Christ, and God is
here by His Spirit in our hearts, with all the resources
that He has. We may know the Lord in a personal and inward
way. We may draw upon the Lord's resources in a personal and
inward way. All that the Lord has is available to us
inwardly. That is the meaning of an opened heaven. All that
followed in the life of Christ here on this earth, of secret
resource, was simply indicative of this meaning of His
baptism, that is, of an opened heaven.
We shall see more of those resources as we
go on, but the opened heaven is a wonderful thing, a
tremendous thing. Heaven is no longer closed when we are
united with Christ on the ground of His atoning work, by
which the veil has been removed and we are brought right
through into God's very presence. We avail ourselves of, and
give heed to, the exhortation of the Apostle: "Let us draw
near in full assurance of faith." We have access through His
Blood. This is the new and living way which He has opened for us through the veil, that is to say, His flesh. Ours
now may be an opened heaven, and all that the opened heaven
The Lord teach us what it means, and bring
us into the good of it.
"The Risen Lord and the Things Which Cannot be Shaken - Chapter 4". First published in "A Witness and A Testimony"
magazine, Jul-Aug 1936, Vol. 14-4.