is nothing which Satan fears so terribly and contests so
fiercely as a true and living testimony concerning the
Blood of the Lord Jesus: not a teaching, doctrine,
creed or phraseology, but that which is wrought out in
the power of the Holy Spirit. It is therefore necessary
for us to seek to recognise this fact, to understand, as
far as we can, why it is so, and to know our position of
victory because of the Blood. Unto this threefold
apprehension we shall begin at the ultimate issue of the
testimony, which is –
DIVINE SEED IN PROSPERITY AND SOVEREIGNTY
It is this
that Satan cannot bear to contemplate, and against which
he is bitterly set, because it represents a menace to his
kingdom at every point.
There is a
very great significance attached to the introduction of
the book of Exodus with “the names of the sons of
Israel, who came into Egypt”. The title “sons
of Israel” represents their dignity as sons of
“a prince of God”. They came into Egypt and
were in great prosperity and strength, while yet a
separate and unabsorbed people. This dignity, prosperity
and power came to be regarded as a distinct peril to the
king of Egypt, and he projected a plan for humbling them,
bringing them into bondage, and making them rather to
contribute to his own prosperity and power.
presents, firstly, God’s mind concerning the
princely dignity and spiritual prosperity and ascendency
of the “sons”; then the activity and object of
the adversary concerning them; and finally the Divine
thought and intention established in the realm of
“far above all rule and authority” in virtue of
the shed blood of chapter twelve. So then, sonship and
sovereignty are the two factors present throughout.
Sonship is the basic principle. Sovereignty is the issue
involved in the conflict. The Blood is the instrument by
which both are established. “These are the names of
the sons of ‘the Prince of God’...” is the
introduction. “Let my son go, that he may serve
me”, is the challenge to Pharaoh; and “Thou
hast refused... behold, I will slay thy son”, is the
sovereign factor at issue (Ex. 4:23).
elements are carried forward throughout all the
Scriptures. It does not matter where you look: that which
lies behind all the conflicts in the history of the
people of God concerns the existence of a Divine seed in
prosperity and power – spiritually - and the factor
which is mainly involved is that of the altar and the
blood. Everything hangs on that. This all heads up and
finds its supreme expression in the Person and work of
the Lord Jesus. As with Moses typically, so with Him
anti-typically, there was the recognition of the one
through whom this Divine seed would be constituted in its
“authority... over all the power of the enemy”
(Luke 10:19). So from birth a ‘dead set’ was
made for His destruction - not only by direct onslaught,
but by subtle subterfuge to get Him to act upon a level
of self by which the Divine protection would be
at which we meet this whole matter of the testimony of
the Blood is with –
ELECT IN BONDAGE
abundant Scripture to show what was the original thought
and intention of God for His spiritual seed, and this is
a very important matter for the apprehension of the
Lord’s people. But what particularly concerns us now
is its realisation. It is not a little impressive that of
the twenty-seven ‘books’ of the New Testament
at least twenty-one have to do with the bringing of the
Lord’s children into their right spiritual place.
And how many of them are directly concerned with the
matter of the actual or threatening loss of spiritual
prosperity and ascendency through some form of bondage.
There is the bondage of iniquity, of sin and sins, of the
Law, of tradition, of fear, of the flesh, of the carnal
mind, of reason, of the righteousness of the flesh, the
wisdom of the flesh, the ‘spirituality’ of the
flesh, and many other forms of bondage. The bonds of
Satan are very numerous, and he suits the kind to the
case. A prince in chains, a member of the seed royal in
servile oppression, is a pitiable sight, and this is what
the Devil delights in. The “man-child”, whether
individual as in Moses and Christ (Exodus 1 and Matthew
2), or corporate as in Revelation 12, is the object of
the Dragon’s venom. This is the Divine seed.
the sons of the ‘Prince of God’ engaged in
building store-cities for Pharaoh, and thus adding wealth
and glory to his world-system instead of serving the Lord
in freedom and victory! Such is the state of the elect,
more or less. From the position of servitude to sin,
self, the world and the Devil before salvation, through
all the stages and phases of spiritual weakness and
defeat to paralysing introspection and spiritual
self-analysis, the true dignity of princeliness, of
sonship, is assailed.
Now, if we
did but know it, there is always some ground for the
bondage. Satan must have ground. His power cannot
function without ground. He was utterly impotent in the
case of the Lord Jesus because there was no ground.
“The prince of the world cometh: and he hath nothing
in me” (John 14:30). The ground which issues in
defeat and bondage at the hands of the adversary is as
varied as the bondage itself.
Is it the
natural condition of the sinfulness of human nature, that
what is in man is quite unfit and unsuitable for the
presence of God? Is it that the Divine will represents a
standard of perfection in moral excellence which sets
back from God even the very best among men? Is it a
secret thing, hidden in the inward parts, which in itself
becomes a weapon in the enemy’s hand to knock us
down? Is it sin done in ignorance, where the intention
was good, but where fuller light reveals that it was
wrong after all? Is it sin unconsciously committed, in
the sense that we did not even know that we did the
these, and many more, are grounds that Satan uses - and
rightly so, if we fail in one all-embracing respect. This
failure is in the matter of recognising the virtue of the
precious Blood, and the worth of Him who shed it.
this we are but bringing into view the offerings of
Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. A close study of these
offerings will reveal two things. One is that God has
searched out sin and tracked it to its most hidden and
secret lair, even to the place of unconsciousness.
The accidental, unwitting, and unsuspected is all taken
into His consideration. He regards sin now as a state,
not merely as a matter of a deliberate act. It is here,
universal, operating in innumerable ways and finding
common ground of affection in the whole race. This all
comes out so clearly in a careful reading of Exodus,
Leviticus, and Numbers.
tracked sin to its remotest haunt, God has made provision
for dealing with it to the very last suggestion.
1. A whole Burnt offering, that the
believer may stand accepted and perfect in relation to
all the will of God (Col. 4:12). (Lev. 1; Heb. 10).
2. A Meal offering, that he may be able to
come into possession of moral perfection, not his own,
but presented by faith. (Lev. 2; Rom. 12:1, 2; Heb.
10:10; 13:21, etc.).
3. A Peace offering, that there may be not
only access and standing, but fellowship and oneness with
God. (Lev. 3; Col. 1:20; Rom. 5:10, etc.).
4. A Sin offering, that sin in its more
positive aspects, and sin in ignorance and without
consciousness, may not interfere with living fellowship
by bringing in spiritual death, either through our own
failure or through the contamination of contact. (Lev. 4,
only in the matter of our relationship with God does the
Blood make an all-sufficient provision, but in
co-operation with God by priestly ministry, in effective
spiritual service in its many-sidedness.
the first and primary thing in a living testimony to the
complete overthrow of the dominion of Satan and the
destruction (bringing to nought) of his works is a
due and adequate apprehension and appreciation of the
Lord Jesus in the value of His Blood.
something almighty in the death of Jesus Christ. Many of
God’s people have failed to recognise the important
distinction between His crucifixion and His death. The
crucifixion is man’s side. The death is His own.
All the crosses ever made, and all the men who
ever conceived them, could never have brought about the
death of the Lord Jesus, apart from His own voluntary act
of laying down His life. “I lay down my life... No
man taketh it from me... I lay it down of myself. I have
power (jurisdiction) to lay it down, and I have power
(jurisdiction) to take it again. This commandment have I
received of my Father” (John 10:17,18).
preaching of Christ crucified is not the preaching merely
of what men did to Him, but of what He ALLOWED
men to do, and, in and through what they did, what He
did. The DEATH of Christ, in its real
meaning, is not man’s act, nor is it the
Devil’s act. Satan and men had made many
unsuccessful attempts to kill Him, but HIS hour
had not come. HE fixes the time for what HE
will do. The rulers said, “Not during the
feast” (Mark 14:2), but the Lord Jesus took it out
of their hands, and out of the hands of Judas, and
precipitated it on that day in the Upper Room; so deftly
heading up that Judas was as one under authority:
“That thou doest, do quickly” (John 13:27).
‘lays down’ His life that He may ‘take it
again’ there is infinitude in the deliberate act,
and it relates to universal sovereignty. Sin, as the
principle; the old creation, as the sphere; Satan, as the
ruler in that realm; death, as the consequence; and
judgment, as the inevitable prospect and reality: all are
involved in the death of Christ. That entire ground was
dealt with, and that regime brought to an end, in that
death. The whole thing centres in the Person of the Lord
Jesus. The same person must be able both to act as
representative of man rejected of God because of sin,
and, as representative, receive all the judgment of God
upon man and sin, and yet at the same time, because sin
is not inherent in Him, but in Himself He is utterly
sinless, render death and hell incapable of holding Him.
There never was such a one, other than Jesus Christ: Son
of man - Son of God.
out of His Blood was, on the one side, His voluntary
yielding to wrath and destruction from the face of God,
as Man for man; and, on the other side, a saying in
effect to death, the Devil and the grave, ‘I concede
you all your claims unto the last atom, and exhaust all
your demands, in being made sin and a curse. But you have
another in Me also, over whom you have no power or
rights, because you have no ground in Him. You cannot
hold Me - I defy you; and, what is more, I now take you
as My prisoners. Henceforth I am your Lord, and I will
plunder your domain and rob you of your spoil.’
“O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is
thy sting?” (1 Cor, 15:55).
from the grave He arose,
With a mighty triumph o’er His foes”.
‘...He invaded death’s abode
And robbed him of his sting’.
‘...He hath crushed beneath His rod
The world’s proud rebel king.
He plunged in His imperial strength
To gulfs of darkness down,
He brought His trophy up at length,
The foiled usurper’s crown’.
because of His sinless perfection, can stand in complete
acceptance with God, suitable to God, and this
representatively as man (though more than man), His
Blood, therefore, representing His sinless and victorious
life, is given to us, and in virtue of it there is
constituted that princely seed in all the good of His
triumph. This does not make us sinlessly perfect, but He
who is in us is so.
remains to bring us into that good is a spiritual
appreciation and apprehension of the transcendent
greatness of the Lord Jesus, the Holy Spirit revealing
Him in us; and then the link of faith unto obedience
between what we are not and what He is. The bridge is
faith. Some act as though it were struggle or puzzle, or
any one of a number of things which are in the nature of
self-effort. It will be found, indeed, that faith is no
mere passive acquiescence. But it is not the DEGREE
of faith only, but the OBJECT of faith. It is,
after all, the place which CHRIST has in the
apprehension of HIS people which makes for the prosperity
and ascendency which should characterize them. The
supreme days of Israel’s history were those when
Christ in type was largest and most dominating. The Feast
of the Passover was the focal point and the pivot. There
never was such rejoicing as then; and, in later times,
when idolatry had gained a strong footing, it was after
the restoration of this feast that the people
instinctively returned to destroy the false system.
testimony of the Blood is basic to victory, ascendency,
and spiritual prosperity, and is the most deadly force
against all the works of the adversary.