The Cross and the City of God

by T. Austin-Sparks

Chapter 4 - The City of Light

"That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him; having the eyes of your heart enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to that working of the strength of his might." Eph. 1:17-19.

This leads to Light, the second thing is a question of Light. Strength and Light are always related in the Word of God, spiritual strength is linked with spiritual light, illumination or revelation. Here we find Light and Strength related to "knowledge of Him". And in Eph. 3:16,18,19 "Strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man... that... ye may be strong to apprehend". Not to do, but to know.

Revelation in Relation to Power

We stand by revelation, "God who shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." "God... called me through grace to reveal His Son in me." - Gal. 1:16.

How are we going to be made to stand, to be established? How is this endurance going to be put in us? By knowing the Lord Jesus in this inward way, by revelation. The people who are going to stand are those in whom this thing has become a living revelation; "God hath shined in our hearts," this is one side. The other is, "pressed on every side, perplexed, pursued, smitten down... yet not unto despair" - 2 Cor. 4:6-10. We are troubled and pressed down... why? "That the LIFE of JESUS might be made manifest in our mortal bodies" - 2 Cor. 4:11.

Is not that endurance? Pressed on every side yet not strangled! "In pressure Thou hast enlarged me" - Ps. 4:1.

What was meant to be "pressed down," God has made for enlargement. Cast down, yet a wonderful rising up. Why? How? It is "God who hath shined in our hearts... in the face of Jesus Christ," therefore you can go through and survive. Nothing can carry us through but the revelation of the Lord Jesus by the Holy Spirit in our hearts; an inside knowledge of Him - not mental assent to a creed or a doctrine, but a living, vital reality in our very being.

For strength to overcome and press on, only a revelation by the Holy Spirit in us can suffice - but it can! A revelation that is within one's spirit and not a mental appreciation of truth even though it is truth about God. Oh, the power to be able to say "I KNOW," not I have heard or read, but "I KNOW". It is an experience nothing can rob us of. It is absolutely essential to have this revelation by the Holy Spirit because we have to meet forces of evil against which nothing can stand save that which is of God.

"In pressure Thou hast enlarged me." How? Because of the constant uprising of THE LIFE within. Trouble, trial, sorrow... we are subject to these things, they are common to all men, but we rise above them through the "strength of His might" within. We are strong because of the Light given in the knowledge of God - Eph 1:19. This is a growing revelation. Paul is writing to the Ephesian saints, and what a wonderful history these had! See Paul's words to them in parting (Acts 20:17-38). To such he says, "that ye may be strengthened to apprehend," showing the necessity for the mighty power of God in bringing through revelation. The enemy mightily withstands revelation; to mar or hinder that, he'll stop at nothing!

Light and Strength go together; endurance is by revelation, "I know". Establishment in the truth by revelation of the truth, this brings an impact on Satan and his hosts; light leading to might.

When the Lord opens eyes you see what happens, "the eyes of your heart being enlightened, that ye may know" this is the result of opened eyes. "Knowing that He that raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also with Jesus" - 2 Cor. 4:14.

"I send thee to open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan unto God" - Acts 26:18. Paul was sent by the Lord Jesus with a message to open the eyes of the people that would turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to their inheritance in God; this, the inheritance of eyes being opened. Sovereignty follows opened eyes.

The City of Divine Government

Revelation chapter 21 is the very embodiment of Divine government in man, everything in the chapter is talking about the number twelve in something or other! Twelve is the Biblical number of government, and signifies perfection of government. And the City is that; a sharing of government, dominion.

We find here throne authority from centre to circumference, thus constituting the city a sovereign city; "and he showed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the midst of the street thereof" - Rev. 22:1,2.

By sharing the Lamb Life we also share the Throne Life, but the throne life is only possible where the Lamb life is shared; to share then we must know it now in our experience, and this is not a mental knowledge. All authority was given to the Lord Jesus, the Lamb of God, on the ground of His obedience to the will of God even unto death - Phil. 2:5,11. Even so He is able to give us authority over all the power of the enemy, as we too are obedient.

We have got to learn sovereignty now, we are called into throne fellowship now, and have got to learn to reign now; this, is spiritual ascendancy. But how can we live and reign in spiritual ascendancy? It begins by a revelation of the Lord Jesus in your heart by the Holy Spirit, and this strengthens our inner man unto ascendancy in the midst of pressure; it is in the daily test. Are we going under or rising up and taking position in spirit? The Lord never delivers out of, until our spirit is on top; we are not meant to be beneath, "thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath" - Deut. 28:13.

Look at Moses; "Jehovah said... lift thou up thy rod and stretch out thy hand over the sea and divide it" - Ex. 14:16. In other words, take a position in the name of the Lord and then you discover the way through. We learn to take everything in spirit, and having dominion in spirit, then, and only then, can we lift up the rod of authority.

When a thing comes from the Lord, grace comes with it; but take the thing out of its time, then the Lord is not in it. See how Moses was able to lift up the rod of authority where Pharaoh was concerned and with triumphant power; but only at the word of the Lord.

"Behold I give you authority... over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you" - Luke 10:19.

"Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" - Matt. 16:18.

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