Just a few short weeks ago, at the beginning of our weekly worship service, a young lady of the congregation walked eagerly down to the front and shared an interesting word which the Lord had recently laid upon her heart. Though many of the fine details to this word have since escaped me, the central focus of it has forever rung loud and clear! As she opened up and began to share, she immediately commented that the Lord had been revealing to her that there were several people within the congregation that day who were dealing with what she described and labeled as a "suppressed passion" from their innermost being. As she continued to explain, she quickly went on to liken this dilemma to that of a "cat which had been placed into a bag, and was violently scratching and clawing in a ferocious attempt to escape!" Immediately, as I sat there and listened, it was as if an Army of Trumpets had begun to suddenly sound from within! Without hesitation, I instantly reached for my Bible and began to quickly open it up to several relevant passages. Eager to step to the front and add to her opening remarks, from the back of the room, I patiently waited for the proper time to respond. Within a matter of minutes, however, as several others stepped forward with some timely words of there own, the ebb and flow of the service began to quickly moved onward in another pertinent direction, and as a result, the opportunity to share had been completely vacated. Fortunately, however, though the doorway to speak had been temporarily closed on that particular morning, it never remained closed for long, for the Lord has now begun to say: "IT'S TIME TO BRING OUT THE INTERPRETATION"!
As we begin this third article of our relentless journey for truth, I'd like to ask one important favor of the local crowd who have already heard me teach these things. Please be patient! The first three articles of this journey have been primarily written for one intended purpose: to build a solid foundation of material for the future articles to come, in order that those who have not previously heard these truths could begin on the same level playing field. In the first article, we found out "how" Satan has gotten to God's people (through masquerading himself as a messenger of light from behind the pulpits of our churches, and consequently instilling his vile traditions as truths). In the second article, we discovered the "method" by which he has passed on these vile traditions (through zealous ministers who are eagerly trying to literally interpret a spiritual book). Now, in this third and final foundational article, we'll look into an extremely critical, yet often overlooked Principle of Biblical Interpretation, which we will henceforth be using in conjunction with the Spiritually Interpreted Word, throughout all future articles.
THE PRAYER MEETING
Before we open up with some scriptural passages, I'd like to quickly place yet one more picture into the back of your minds, that I might later give reference to in the closing portion of our article. As I was passing through our local church facility a few weeks ago, I happen to walk by a particular classroom where a prayer meeting was taking place. From within the classroom, as the participants were heavily engaged into worship and intercession, one predominant message was ringing ever so loud and clear: "More Lord….. More Lord….. Give us more Lord….. Send us more Father....." they were demanding! The cries were deafening; and the motives were pure! The worshipers within were desperately wanting MORE (We'll return to this thought later on in the article)! So what about this "suppressed passion"? What about this "cat which was trapped in the bag, desperately scratching and clawing in its ferocious attempt to get out"? What's it all mean? Let's dig into the scriptures a bit as we seek to discover our answer!
As we reflect back to our previous article for a moment, perhaps a small hint from our earlier study will help us to begin unraveling our dilemma. Do you remember what FIRST CORINTHIANS 10:11 says? "Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come." As we get started here, we must remember that everything in the Old Testament was written for us! It was not written to them, but to a people whom the ends (plural) of the world are come upon: it was written for us! Though everything in the Old Testament really did happen in time and space (except for the parables and allegories of course), at the same time, every one of those things were painting a spiritual picture of what would soon begin to take place during the church age! So if you want to know what's about to happen within the church age of which we presently live, you must first go backwards and spiritually interpret the "EXAMPLES" which were given to us then! However, THERE IS ONE, MAJOR PROBLEM WHICH QUICKLY ARISES WITH THIS SCENARIO. Here's the problem! It's absolutely impossible to "spiritually interpret" those examples without first and foremost, having experienced what the Apostle Paul calls, "the eyes of your understanding being enlightened"! In fact, he was so burdened for this experience to take place within the church of his day, that he devoted a major portion of his prayer to the Father to this in EPHESIANS CHAPTER ONE (That topic, my friends, we will definitely cover more thoroughly in a related future article)! For now, however, if this is truly the case, and everything that we currently have need of is cleverly hidden within an Old Testament passage, then where's the picture for our dilemma at hand hidden? Anyone? Where can we find a "spiritual portrait" within the Old Testament scriptures which describes to the believer, the absolute necessity of their spiritual eyes of understanding needing to be opened? Let's take a look at the SONG OF SOLOMON for a moment. In verse twelve of chapter four, we immediately see an example of our "suppressed passion" ("the cat in the bag")! It reads the following: "… a garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse, a spring shut up, a fountain sealed…" There it is! Did you catch that, my friends? There's our "suppressed passion"! There's a realm in God where you are like in a spring, but you are like a spring shut up, you are like a fountain, but like a fountain sealed, and you're like a garden, but a garden enclosed! There's a realm in God, where that "cat in the bag", though scratching and clawing he may, just can't seem to get out! And that "cat in the bag", my friend, is THE LION OF THE TRIDE OF JUDAH! IT'S THE CHRIST OF GOD WITHIN!
So what is this realm, you're probably asking? All that we need to do to answer that question, is to back up a few verses, and find out where the Shulamite was, when this statement was made about her! Let's go back to chapter two, verse four and take a look. "… He brought me to the banqueting house, and His banner over me was love…" The "banqueting house", my friends, according to the Strong's Concordance, is the "house of wine"! It's a picture of the realm of pentecost!!! Are you ready for this? The reason why there's such a "suppressed passion" for those who are currently residing in this particular realm of God, is that unlike what we've been told from the pulpit (by the Masquerader) all of our lives, THE REALM OF PENTECOST IS NOT THE REALM OF THE FULNESS OF THE SPIRIT! Now, for those of you who did not just pass out and hit the floor over that statement, let's continue. For those who did, well, they'll have to catch up when they come to again! For over a century now, since Parham experienced his outpouring at Azusa Street, and Seymour in the South, Pentecostals have been proudly displaying their church signs, banners, and belief statements alike all across this great country of ours. And usually, somewhere engraved on those signs, banners, and statements of belief alike, are found the all too common words: "FULL GOSPEL"! Now please don't get me wrong! There's nothing wrong with the realm of pentecost! But it was a realm which God intended for the church to pass through, not camp out in! So where did we ever get the idea that the infilling of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was the fullness of the spirit? The truth is, the Word of God says just the opposite! Two things are said about the act of being baptized in the spirit in the scriptures, and we shall now take a look at both of them. In EPHESIANS 1:13-14, Paul records the following: "…in whom also, after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the EARNEST of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession unto the praise of his glory." Did you catch that, my friends? the baptism of the holy spirit is just the earnest of our inheritance, not the fullness! And please understand, that when I say that Pentecost is not the Fullness of the Spirit, I am not saying that you only have a portion of the Spirit within (Actually, I don't even believe that most Pentecostals themselves understand what the term "fullness of the spirit" even means); I am saying that in the realm of Pentecost, there remains something within each of us that is holding us back from experiencing the fullness that the spirit has to offer (and we will reveal very soon exactly what that "something" is)! But the truth is, when you are in that realm, something is "supressing" the spirit from within! Anyone who has ever worked in the field of Real Estate should be very familiar with this word "earnest", for when a piece of property is purchased, "earnest" money is given as an initial deposit, which is a guarantee that the full amount for the property will be given upon the closure of the sale. Therefore, the earnest money is not the full amount (fullness)! it's only the initial deposit! The second thing that the scriptures say about the baptism is found in ROMANS 8:23, where the apostle Paul describes this experience as the "firstfruits of the spirit"! With that said, my friends, any experienced farmer can quickly reveal to us that the "firstfruits" of a sown crop, is not the fullness of the harvest, but only the initial part of the harvest, which had grown to maturity first! It was an initial guarantee, that a crop of the same substance, would soon been coming in its fullness! Is there any wonder then why the church is in the condition that it's in? For decades now, Pentecostals have been told that they have the fullness of the spirit, and if they have the fullness, then there ain't no more to get (pardon my English)! And if there ain't no more to get, we can just sit back in our easy chair, and wait for the Lord to return! As a result of this teaching, we've bred an entire church-world, who sees absolutely no reason whatsoever, to move on and grow up into full maturity! For after all, why should they, when "…in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye", God will do it all for them some day! O.K., O.K., I must calm down for now! But the truth is: because of this belief about the Pentecostal experience, God's people only want to "go up, they don't want to grow up". – K. Dudley Before we move on from this thought, do you remember our example about the church prayer meeting earlier on in the article? I have a question for you. If the realm of Pentecost is the fullness of the spirit, THEN WHY WERE ALL OF THOSE PEOPLE CRYING OUT FOR MORE? SELAH!!!
Now that we've taken a look at what the scriptures say about the Pentecostal experience, let's attempt to go back and find it hiding in "picture form" somewhere in the Old Testament. In PROVERBS 22:20, we find the following statement: "Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge, that I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth…" Here it is, my friends. Right here in black and white, the scriptures themselves give us a key insight, as to how we can know the word of god in certainty and truth (not tradition)! In the Strong's Concordance, the Hebrew word for "excellent" here carries several different meanings, but there's one common thread here which cannot be overlooked. Excellent here means "THREEFOLD THINGS"! Therefore, God is telling us, that in order to understand the scriptures in "certainty"; we must understand the Biblical principle of "THREEFOLD THINGS"! And here again, my friends, most of the church-world has never even heard of such a concept! Never-the-less, as we start to build on this principle, both now and within future articles, you will clearly begin to see that from this one principle alone, layer upon layer of spiritual revelation will begin to ultimately unfold! For gently interwoven throughout the totality of the scriptures, you will soon discover that there are several lists, or groups of threes hidden cleverly throughout. For example: groupings such as (little children, young men, and fathers); (righteousness, peace, and joy); and (faith, hope, and love); just to name a few, are clearly revealed when searched for. In fact, there are at least 130 of these groupings throughout the Word of God in its entirety. What we will soon find out, therefore, in future articles of The Epicenter, is that as we begin to form a list of these multiple "groups of threes", three distinct realms or dimensions of god"s grace will begin to ultimately appear! All of the words in the first column will describe to us what we are to experience in the FIRST DIMENSION; All of the words in the second column, the SECOND DIMENSION; and all of the words in the third column, the THIRD DIMENSION of his grace! And yes indeed, my friends, we will see that each and every one of these three-fold dimensions, were fully intended by the father to be experienced by the believer! Let's quickly take a look at just one of these examples in an attempt to get us started: "…three times shalt thou keep a feast for me in the year…?" (Exod. 23:14-16). Here in Exodus, we find three distinct Jewish Feasts which God required the Nation of Israel to celebrate each year: The Feast of Unleavened Bread (Passover), the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost), and the Feast of Ingathering (Tabernacles). Now please remember, God is not telling the Church to physically celebrate the Three Main Jewish Feasts! Nonsense! Remember 1 CORINTHIANS 10:11? These were "examples" (pictures or snapshots that represent something that we would experience in Christ)! God wants us to spiritually interpret what these "three feasts" actually picture for the church, and that's what he wants us to experience! So here it is! Here's the three main dimensions of his grace which are to be experienced by each and every believer! PASSOVER: Speaks of the initial salvation experience, "…For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed (1 Cor. 5:7)! PENTECOST: Speaks of the infilling of the Holy Spirit (the firstfruits of the spirit (Rom.. 8:23)). And last but certainly not least, TABERNACLES: Speaks of the fullness of the spirit (for this is the feast where the fullness of the harvest is celebrated)! As the believer makes his progression through these three dimensions of grace, he does not leave behind the attributes of the preceding realm, but brings everything along with him, as he advances into a greater and deeper experience with the Father! And if you haven't yet noticed, the feast of Pentecost has never been God's intended resting place, it's only the second room, my friends, of his three room house!
With the "stage now set" and the "foundation now lain", only one more task clearly remains in front of us. We must now begin to combine the absolute certainties of the principle of threefold things, along with the invaluable concepts of the spiritually interpreted word, and become no less hungry than the Bereans of the book of Acts, "...who were more noble than those at Thessalonica, for they searched the scriptures daily whether these things be so"! Midnight has come, my friends. It has now come time in the earth for the ruthless chains and shackles of religious pride and tradition to be forever loosened and removed from the limbs of a groaning creation! It's time for an earthquake, beloved! It's time for the people of God to be suddenly released from the prison house! It's time for some Tremors from the Throneroom!
(…to be continued)