"Say ye, I am your sign." - Ezek. 12:11.
The mental conception of consecration is that of being
blessed and being made a blessing. If left there that is not a true
conception. These passages, which we have read (see below) contain a
proposition which is the central and basic principle of consecration to the
Lord. It is that He would make us a sign. They contain this law, that God in
His eternal purpose determines that the method of His realisation should be by
an incarnation of Himself, that is, a manifestation of Himself in the flesh;
and that He shall do something in that incarnation which will be a sign to the
universe, setting forth something of the wisdom, power, and sovereignty of God
- that He will take hold of the form of a man, and in that form do things and
say: "Look at that and learn." He is making such an instrument, by what He
does in it, a signification, not only to man, but to angels of the two
hierarchies, the Divine and the satanic; as for example Job, in whom God did a
thing at which all the hosts of angels and demons might look and learn of His
manifold wisdom. In every realm, amongst men and in the heavenlies, the lower
and the super heavenlies, God would do a thing in those who are His, which
should be the means of instructing, making aware, informing and demonstrating
to all who behold.
Moses was a sign to the children of Israel. He disobeyed
God, and because Moses stood in such a prominent position before the people,
God had to act at once and to punish his disobedience publicly. In that
judgment he became a sign to the Israelites, lest they should come to regard
the sin of disobedience lightly. With us also there will have to be a like judgment of the
flesh, for the warning of others, as well as the vindication of the Truth in
its living outworking. Moses was God's sign. It costs to be God's sign. Are we
willing? How great was the cost to Moses, but how fruitful the afterward.
That this is a principle of Divine dealing is illustrated
in the following Scriptures:
Ezek. 12:6. "I have set thee for a sign."
Ezek. 12:11. "I am your sign."
Ezek. 24:27. "Thou shalt be a sign unto them and they shall know that I am the
Acts 1:8. "Ye shall be witnesses unto Me."
2 Cor. 3:2. "Ye are our epistle... known and read of all men."
2 Cor. 3:3. "Ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ."
1 Cor. 4:1. "Let a man so account of us as the ministers of Christ."
1 Cor. 4:9. "We are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels and to
Eph. 3:10. "To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in the
heavenlies (lit.) might be known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God."
2 Cor. 2:15. "We are unto God a sweet savour of Christ in them that are saved
and in them that perish, to one we are the savour of death unto death, and to
the other of life unto life."
I believe that the Lord is seeking in these days to gather out a people - few they will certainly be, and
one does not say that the Lord can do this with all who are His - who shall be
His sign to the "House of Israel". Their testimony may not be that "the House
of Israel" is utterly wrong; but rather a testimony to a higher and deeper
life in God to which He calls. One feels this borne in upon one so much in
these days, and you will understand the signification of this, that when the
Lord calls a people, a small company it may be, when He puts His hand upon one
here and one there, He deals with them in altogether different ways from those
which He follows with other people, and He says: "I will do a new thing".
Now it is no use your making a comparison with others. In
their way they
may have a certain seal and blessing of God upon them; but this does not mean
that the way by which the Lord is leading you is a wrong way. You dare not
argue from the ways other people go. This is the way of the Lord for you.
Do not stay to make comparisons or you will be stumbled, you who have given
yourselves wholly to God and come up against these exceptional and trying
experiences, the full impact of the wrath of the enemy. If you look around
upon others who have an easier time, because they are not going the way you
are going, it will immediately seem that for you all meaning has gone out of
everything. The point is, that the Lord has His wheel within a wheel, His
instrument which He desires to make a special sign to His people of His
wisdom, His power, His grace, His methods, His purpose; He would reveal
Himself through you to others. Do not for one moment have the thought of
anyone being on a pedestal, being in solitary isolation, of special account to
the Lord. It simply means that more than others you go deeper down into death,
and in humiliation before the world. Because
the Lord takes you deeper, He is able to reveal something higher.
God is leading such out into a way which is unusual, which
is, if you like, peculiar, and is doing a thing of which they have no
knowledge of having been done anywhere else. As He leads them thus I believe
it is in order that, in doing this thing, with all its cost, with all its
pain, with all the need for the slaying of every part of the flesh, its pride
and arrogance, its desire for the approval of men, and all that kind of thing
- in His new way He is seeking to have such to go with Him - all in order that
He may make them a sign; something spiritual, and something spiritually
powerful. He will not have them to be that which men can applaud and approve,
but that which perhaps will be like the impact of the throne of God upon the
throne of Satan. That is the burden of the Word of the Lord: "Son of man, I
have made you a sign"; "Say, I am your sign."
It seems to me that this moment is one in which we should
face the implication of this word; as to whether we are going the popular way
or the unpopular way, as to whether we are going to be the Lord's Sign. When
Paul uttered these words: "For I think that God hath set forth us apostles last of
all, as men doomed to death: for we are made a spectacle..." he was taking
account of the holidays of the Romans, when they gathered for a day's sport.
When all the other items were finished, to crown this holiday, the last
thing was the turning into the arena of criminals to be made sport of, to be
laughed at, jeered at, ridiculed, made fun of as they suffered. Paul says:
"set forth... last... made a spectacle" - the world laughs. In the same way
the world laughed at Nehemiah in the building of the walls of Jerusalem.
"God hath set forth us the apostles last of all, as men
doomed to death: for we are made a spectacle..." Are we ready to be made a
"sign"? Are we willing to become a thing at which the world laughs? The Cross
of the Lord Jesus has ever proved to be the superlative wisdom and power of God. For the time
being the sharing of the Cross is the real test. The Master endured the Cross,
and despised the shame, in order to be made a sign. Was there ever a sign more
glorious and mighty than that Cross - in the heavens, in hell, and on the
Thus our Master came to the end of His earthly course, and
said: "For their sakes I consecrate Myself". For their sakes I give Myself
unto the full consecration; and that consecration is the Cross. I am willing
to be made a "spectacle" to men, demons and angels, for their sakes. The Lord
wants us to be signs. One says this with bated breath, knowing little of what
it means, but knowing also that His grace is sufficient. Beloved, He is just
seeking to gather a company of people together of whom He can make a Sign.
Will you say on those terms, on that ground, "I am the Lord's"; "At Thy feet I
fall; to suffer, live or die, for my Lord crucified"? This is what it means to
be His witnesses. "Ye are my witnesses".
The Lord has had different kinds of signs through the
years. Sometimes He has raised up outstanding individuals with their peculiar
and specific experience and testimony; sometimes a piece of work embodying
some particular spiritual law or feature; a place or a mission. Such are ever
the expression of Divine sovereignty, and they cannot be repeated or copied by
men at their will; they are essentially the work of God. But while we can
neither produce nor imitate them, we can and must learn the spiritual lesson
which they are intended to teach. The one inclusive object of all such "signs"
is to lift the Lord's people to a level which is above the ordinary and
natural; yes, above the normal, above the human, above the best that is
possible in man of himself. The significance of "the Lord" is what is in
point; not the man, the people, the instrumentality, the work, but the Lord.
Thus it comes about that, in the course of their ministry, the Lord does not
protect them from adversity, but rather seems to allow every devastating force
to break upon them, so that again and again they are at their "wits end"; the
end seems to have come; the enemy seems to have triumphed; the whole vision
appears to have been a mistake. But by "resurrection from the dead" the
Lord is glorified and His power is known. When the Lord secures such an
instrument He takes pains to strip it of all elements of human glorying, and
makes it to be something which is dependent upon Him for its very life. The
more we must have of some thing
in which to boast, the less are we likely to have of the genuine glory of God.
The way of the true "sign" is no way of earthly praise; it
never attracts to itself. The very term "sign" means that there is something
beyond and more than the thing itself.
First published in "A Witness and A Testimony"
magazine, May-Jun 1937 Vol. 15-3