Isaiah 53: 1-3; 11: 1, 2, 6-9
Revelation 1: 17, 18; 3: 8-11
DMW The desire is that something should be left on our spirits as to the kind of life that is so attractive to heaven, so distinguished by the character of the Man who walked in that life, the One who laid down that life, life in perfection, drawing nothing at all from the world, growing up of itself. In Isaiah 11 I thought we could see what possibilities there were for us in feeding on that life, the same life morally on the other side of death that was seen here, the same blessed Person who brought into the world the word of God, personally qualified to express the mind and heart of God, a life that was for God, a life now on the other side of death, a Man glorified. I wondered as to the “shoot out of the stock of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots” leading on to projecting eternal life on the earth in the coming day, so that we might see the wonderful possibilities that exist in our gatherings, where nature in its typical character is not to be seen. Our gathering together provides a wonderful area of peace, a wonderful area of persons who know this One whose life was taken from the earth; they know the One who has declared, “Fear not: I am the first and the last, and the living one … behold, I am living to the ages of ages, and have the keys of death and of hades”. We see in Philadelphia a wonderful character of what we might think of as carried over from Isaiah 11, where persons are breathing the atmosphere of love, a living organism, persons in continuance here because of the attraction of that Man and that kind of life and who love one another, keeping certain things in evidence of that life, overcoming to make way for a wonderful experience of what can be for the Lord Jesus and for the delight of heaven. It is the assembly in remnant conditions, in remnant character and then, as apostasy increases publicly, the life continues, a life that is fruitful. “Behold, I make them of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews”, certain pretensions but opposed to what is really life and with profession only; empty profession, yet claiming much over against Philadelphia where life in the service of God can be expressed. These are they who set themselves apart and instead of the disallowance of what is natural, things are taken up on that natural basis. There is no life there according to God’s mind collectively. Philadelphia is different.
So, in Jude there are spots in the love feasts. We understand in remnant conditions there is a little power in the midst of the increasing outward profession and apostasy; yet we get encouragement beloved ones, “praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, awaiting the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life”. The desire is that something might truly rest upon our spirits as to this blessed precious life, which was taken from the earth but is to continue in the saints.
HTF Would you say something as to the opened door in Revelation 3?
DMW If you have an open door you should be able to look and see something through it. In John 10, He is the door, and the sheep who, without defect, go in and out and find pasture and have the enjoyment of life abundantly, vv 7, 9. We are allowed to look in where the operation of love comes out in life among the brethren, and this makes way for the great matter that God desires for His own heart; persons love one another and are set for these things, and they keep certain things in view of His own blessed service.
HTF He has done it in view of our entering in to the enjoyment of what is before us?
DMW Yes, He has. It is the wonder of it all that He is, “the first and the last, and the living one”, but there are those brought to light in between because of what He has done to make way for the fruitfulness of life to continue. He has done it. He is, “everything, and in all”, Col 3: 11.
JW Would the first scripture that you have read show that naturally we have had no appreciation of this life? We really have to change our man do we?
DMW He had “no form nor lordliness”, there is no one like Him. Man would look to put up another man, one who would come in his own name (John 5: 41); they will do that. There is nothing to attract on the basis of judging naturally. In Isaiah 11 you get that kind of judgment removed; but the attraction is moral, the beauties of Christ, the order of Man set on in His Person is meant to be carried through, although He is always unique. If we do not change our man we cannot be along side of Him in life at all; it is life of another order and kind, beyond what is natural to us.
JW Is this what is going to hold us and preserve us from the apostasy that is coming in?
DMW It is part of current exercise that we have to face things as they are, not as they were. If you desire a lot, then with horror and with sorrow you see iniquity developed, the iniquity of the Amorites becoming full. We must face that and not be carried away by any of it, any aspect of it, any influence that would come from that area of things, or anything from any quarter that does not speak to us and to our affections of another kind of Man.
WMcC Did Samuel have to go through this exercise, the selection of David, 1 Sam 16: 6-10?
DMW Yes, one by one, certain persons, whose names have meaning in that particular section, came before Samuel, one who would be attractive as a man would be attractive, for example, another one this and another that, but none of them worthy of selection or anointing. It is suggestive that only a man after God’s heart was worthy, one who could be exalted in the midst of his brethren because of who he is.
PH This glorious Man will hold us: “For ye were going astray as sheep but have now returned to the shepherd and overseer of your souls”, 1 Pet 2: 25?
DMW Even Peter’s adjustment when the Lord spoke to him at the end of John’s gospel, “Follow thou me” (John 21: 22), confirms your thought. John got the gain of it for himself. When Peter fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, Lord” (Luke 5: 8), the Lord would not depart. Peter realised what the Person was before him and must have had some impression that the Lord was going to set him up in service: “henceforth thou shalt be catching men”, v 10. Peter would learn service would be impossible without following the Lord in it as under the Lord’s shepherd service.
AM Is the tender sapling what God saw in the life of Jesus and that comes before what man saw?
DMW Yes. Man in a condition of unbelief, fallen humanity, cannot recognise things or see things as they really are. If we are to see things as they really are we must see them from heaven’s view. What do you think as to the tender sapling?
AM It is a test as to what we can say. It seems to me that in outward smallness and a condition that was despised around there was One who had in Himself the ability to grow up before God pleasing to Him.
DMW There is no one like Him, no one before Him, no one after Him:
Unique in Thy humanity:
The Man of God’s choice, divine pleasure in a Man, the attracting object for our hearts.
DBB Not deriving anything from down here.
DMW Nothing. What do we derive? If we derive anything morally from down here we are out of our orbit. He is the ruling object for my heart. He is the Head and Centre of God’s universe of bliss, where life is in expression.
DNS I was thinking of the oblation, it brings out the holy perfection of the life of Jesus and there is no measurement of the flour in the offerings, Lev 2: 1. We cannot measure the value of the life of Jesus, what it meant to God.
DMW And even at the age of twelve (we speak carefully because there was really no development morally with Him, it cannot be that way), He was about His Father’s business (Luke 2: 49), in the perfect intrinsic character of a Man for God. Is it any wonder that at His baptism the Holy Spirit does not have to be sent, He comes (Luke 3: 22). He marks out and affirms the perfection of the oblation that was there in those first thirty years, in One soon to offer Himself without spot or blemish. That would be the priests’ food, and it is food for God.
KM It says in Acts 8, “for his life is taken from the earth”, v 33. It does not exactly say that in Isaiah 53 but it leads on to the eunuch saying, “what hinders my being baptised?”, v 36. It means that he was prepared to go out of sight in relation to this world and its concerns.
DMW Very good. The truth is one whole, all leads to Him, who He is, how He has moved, what He has done. Baptism is an important matter with us. The eunuch said, ‘if there is someone like this I must go out of sight’, baptised unto the death of Christ. Removal is the idea, because there is something that has to be continued and, while we take account of that objectively and it is in view of something, yet it is necessary for us to come to the same conclusion that the eunuch did.
RWMcC He says, “what hinders my being baptised?” It is as we have our eye on Christ in this order of manhood that anything that might hinder, which is myself, will go out of sight.
DMW We need to be deepened in these things. Household baptism is not merely because that is what the brethren do. It may be that if our intelligence is lacking this certainly would be the thing to do anyway, but what is in view is not the world, what is in view is even little ones coming into things normally in a Christian household where they would be attracted to Christ. They would see beauty in Him, they would see something of attraction even in the brethren. We need to lay hold of these things. Mr Renton reminded us that we often refer to self judgment, but what about the judgment of self? Are we getting back to our baptism or retaining ourselves for the world?
PM When the Lord Jesus came out of the waters of baptism Luke presents Him as the praying Man, “Jesus having been baptised and praying”, Luke 3: 21. There was nothing in Him that needed removing but does He become the model for us and opening up on our view the intimacy of communion - even in such a movement - that He had with His Father.
DMW That is helpful to see. In Matthew’s rendering of the Lord’s baptism it was to fulfil all righteousness (chap 3: 15), and as you have suggested He was seen praying. He was a perfect Man. Think of the loveliness of Christ, perfect in dependence, the glory of a Man, perfect in obedience, in communion with His Father for what lay ahead in service in going through those tests in the power of the Spirit. Wonderful, attracting life for our souls.
PM I wondered if the tender sapling suggests the One who was praying. He was here in dependence upon His God, upon the Father. I believe Mr Darby said that, “The hand that struck the chord found all in tune”, Synopsis Vol 1 p110. Every feature that He looked for in a man was there in this Man and there was nothing that He did not look for.
DMW He found everything in Christ. Think of His patience as a Man, think of the glory of His walk, that in itself was attractive to John the Baptist. The One who was set here for the will of God, so pleasurable to God, the Lamb of God, the holy One of God, harmless, moving as a lamb, John 1: 29, 36. Great enough to take away the sin of the world, but accepting the position of suffering because He was not known or appreciated and not desired, accepting rejection because the will of God involved His death.
AKT It says “a root out of dry ground”.
DMW There was nothing here.
AKT It was dry down here, He would receive from heaven.
DMW He is a kind of Man that was never known and seen. He comes to light in the place where God’s people had gone off into idolatry, where Man had been tested. This Man would be tested, tested in coming through in perfection. “In Him sin is not”, 1 John 3: 5. “Who did no sin”, 1 Pet 2: 22. Perfect, dependent, subject, obedient Man, never a man like that.
JBI Does the root mean secret communion?
DMW We are not let in on too much in those first thirty years. He was constant in His thoughts and movements, in His desires that God’s will be carried through. No deviation at all, no divergence, even recalling in the garden, “if it be possible, let this cup pass from me”, Matt 26: 39. What it must have meant to a blessed holy Man! There never was a holy Man before seen here, no one like that, holy humanity: what it was when He was made sin! He would have to be made what we are, to finish sacrificially the lawless man.
RWMcC Would it be right to say that God could test that Man?
DMW I think so. Certainly God shows that the tests were very real and that He overcame all. There was no testing like the Lord Jesus underwent. The devil pressed upon Him, “departed from Him for a time” (Luke 4: 13) and returned. Why? Because here was a Man finally that did not deviate from the path of obedience and dependence and love to His God and Father, the devil would try in some way to make Him deviate. Whether it be setting something forward that would emanate from the Egypt world, or the Babylonish world, where the devil has sway, he would try everything, and there was no penetration because of who this Man was and because of the kind of Man He was, Luke 4: 1-13.
DEB Can you tell us why chapter 11 comes before chapter 53? Chapter 11 is a presentation of who the Lord was as wholly successful, but chapter 53 presents Him as rejected.
DMW I am not sure I can say much as to the ordering. Everything leads up to the display of a life that would bring in everything for God including what we are reading about in Isaiah 11, projecting even ahead to the millennial state where eternal life will be enjoyed on earth; showing the possibilities, but leading up to distinguishing one blessed Man who could bring it all about. For us who have never seen the Lord Jesus corporeally, personally, we learn the truth as from Christ and the fulness of it in Him; we start with Him, and end with Him. Everything in the previous dispensations, if we can characterise time that way, pointed forward. Life could not be known until Christ comes on the scene, in a way that God intended for man to live before Him. Yet, with such a life there would be a scope to it, there would be continuance of it characteristically in persons, and in our day the possibilities are here. We could have read Psalm 133, we could have read 1 Corinthians 12, we could have read other scriptures, but this scripture came to mind. Everything that would never appreciate Christ is nullified and in its place are persons in the enjoyment of eternal life not on the basis of what is natural, but on the basis of our link with the heavenly Man.
HTF In both of these chapters in Isaiah there is a reference to root and roots. The Lord Jesus in the parable of the sower refers to having no root. There is apparent life springing up but there is no root, and it does not bring anything to fruit, Mark 4; 17. I wondered whether what you are saying is that what is derived from Him has a root.
DMW “They have no root in themselves”, nothing was there of Christ. Elsewhere, the tree had to be cut down, “the axe is applied to the root of the tree”, Luke 3: 9. Man has made himself a great tree in the world in separation from God, and even when the ministry of the Lord Jesus was confined to that area, where there had been a remnant returned, you see only his disciples affected. There were some that responded but man naturally and religiously is like the dry ground. “The wind blows where it will”, (John 3: 8); the idea is that things come to light in fruitfulness so that a life is there. There can be no life unless it is derived from the Lord Jesus, who grew up here of Himself so to speak, “a root out of dry ground”. There cannot be any life pleasurable to God unless it is after His order.
HTF The tender sapling, even in natural things, is the epitome of life, springing up but from a root.
DMW Some of these things we can think of intelligently as to the way the Spirit of God would present them to us, just as you have suggested. Thus we are expanded in our appreciation of God’s own work in His operations and understand how He is bringing to light persons like Christ. His own operations are engaged in that, a divine system is operative to bring that about because of the consideration for man, His desire for man to be in life, but life after Christ, and for His own heart. Wonderful thing! We may not be able to put that together if we try to link it all with being born anew (John 3: 3), which is initial, when something is established morally in a soul and when a person begins to crave God. While that might be life potentially, it is not exactly life expressed yet according to God. Even though we speak of new birth it is really a new source coming in. Life can only be seen in Christ in its perfection, that is what we draw from and feed on. We see too that He is the object of life. All my motives have changed now, I am attracted to another Man and another kind of Man, a Man I have never seen corporeally, but He is to be seen in the saints who have the Holy Spirit, the same kind of life.
AKT Are you thinking that a tender sapling sets forth life in Jesus?
DMW I thought that. We are moving carefully, we want something to rest on our spirits, something deep of this blessed Person, and the blessedness of His life.
AKT The life would be green would it not; the leaves would be green? A tender sapling is very beautiful and it is before God.
DMW So as our brother has suggested, oft times the natural or the physical is an index to what is spiritual. Where? We take care in that because our minds have to be under the control of the Holy Spirit lest we introduce our own thoughts and we would guard the impeccability of the life of Jesus. It is there in all its glory, beauty and attractiveness; a tender sapling, a root out of dry ground.
PH Is the root in mind in John 15: 4, “unless ye abide in me”? This is the root; we are the branches, do you think?
DMW The thing to see is that there is a testimony in that life. The branches abide in the vine, that is the true vine (John 15: 1), one life. There is the drawing of this sap so that there is testimony. The world may not understand that or recognise it because our “life is hid with the Christ in God” (Col 3: 3), and when it is manifested it will all be clear as to what we are; but in the circle of affection where life is to be enjoyed and no intrusion of what is natural is allowed, that life comes out because we are abiding in the vine. So there is testimony before God. I understand Israel was a vine (Isa 5: 1), and certain things were committed to them for testimony, but what we are talking about here is vital. It is nothing ecclesiastical, it is vital and it is characterised by what is vigorous I think. What comes to light is the vigour of life drawing from the vine as having the Spirit who is life. That is what we want, we do not want to set one another up naturally; we have done so much of that, we would like to be ourselves naturally, but no, we want the life of Christ only, and admiration for that. That is a test as to how we get over into the life of Christ. Certainly, it cannot be without the Spirit. Are we feeding on Him, are we drawing from Him?
PM Verse 8 raises the question, “who shall declare his generation?” Does that bring out the distinctiveness of Christ in the midst of those that are His own? They are His generation.
DMW Quite so. Who could declare it? He is distinct.
PM I thought that was perhaps an answer to the question about Isaiah 11. He begins with the glory and majesty of this Person, but he says if there is to be a generation I will show you the kind of Man that gives character to it.
DMW He “saw the Lord ... high and lifted up”, Isa 6: 1. You can never get to the end of this blessed Person, every thought and every direction of thought.
JBI Yet “the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of Jehovah” is over against the folly and darkness of the apostasy?
DMW That is what we need. We need to be held in life that way. We sang at the outset as to His headship, that is where wisdom is. Wisdom is in the Head. He was the wisdom and power of God here (1 Cor 1: 24), we know that. But He has been exalted. He is Head in Colossians in His personal right, chap 1: 18. That glory belongs to Him, “the Son of [the Father’s] love”, chap 1: 13. He is made Head in Ephesians, 1: 23. The glory of headship attaches to One who has the spirit of wisdom and understanding perfectly, the spirit of counsel and might. It says in the next verse, “he shall not judge after the sight of eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears”, v 3. That would be natural judgment. We are to judge spiritual judgment.
JW Would you say something in relation to the fear of Jehovah marking the Lord?
DMW It is difficult sometimes to put in words. “The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of wisdom” (Prov 9: 10), everything is personified in Him. It brings to mind that He was set only for the will of God and He respected that as a man. In one sense He knew that there was nothing else that was right. I say that reverently and carefully. He was the righteous One, but the fear of Jehovah, the will of God, filled His heart, “Lo, I come (in the roll of the book it is written of me) to do, O God, thy will”, Heb 10: 7. Think of the feelings of the blessed Man:. “By which will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all” (Heb 10: 10). He came to take away the first, He was great enough to do that, and establish the second (v 9). Job had to learn that, some sense of it anyway.
HTF Is there some link in the verse in Isaiah 11 with the seven spirits of God - “he hath them”? There is a complete thought in this verse, the seven aspects and the fear of Jehovah is one of them.
DMW That is good. So that you get the presentation of the Lord Jesus “girt about at the breasts”, and walking “in the midst the seven golden lamps”. He holds the stars (Rev 2: 10) and He has them, Rev 1: 16. I would just say humbly the recovery is because of the Lord’s love. It is because of the Lord’s love and what He has that He has brought us even to know one another in fellowship. That is the Lord’s love. We are to be very careful. If I am a lion by nature, I do not display that character, and I may very well be that by nature. There is one attracting object, one life and one kind of life really.
We see in Revelation a beautiful picture of what the Lord knows, His perfect valuation and estimation of the assembly. He has the whole assembly in His heart, the assembly of God which God “has purchased with the blood of His own” (Acts 20: 28), perfect valuation. Here it comes to light in the recovery, persons keeping the word of His patience. Tomorrow we are going to break bread, if the Lord will. The Lord’s Supper and the coming of the Lord Jesus were parallel features of the recovery at the outset, but at the end of the dispensation, in which we find our lot, the sonship of Christ, preceded by eternal life in the company are clarified for our enjoyment of blessed relationships. The blessed Man here, who came into the bosom of the Father in manhood, and declared God (John 1: 18), He is “the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father unless by me”, John 14: 6. The sonship of Christ, personal recognition of the Holy Spirit, the setting on of the order of service Godward, the Supper and the coming of Christ as the hope of the church, all accumulate to us at the end for our enjoyment in life before God.
JW I was wondering whether this scripture in Revelation 1 is necessary for us in view of current conditions to understand the Lord’s judicial attitude, yet at the same time to be exercised to be in accord with Him so that He can say to us, “Fear not”.
DMW I think that is the truth. He does not speak of Himself as head nor is He blessing the assemblies exactly, but He has judicial garb on which is a test to us. How far are we allowing the conditions of life to perpetuate as in Isaiah 11? All these things in one sense embarrass us. The church buildings are going to be here when the Lord comes, profession of God is going to continue, but thank God He has wrought, and the Lord Jesus has wrought in recovery, because of His love for the assembly and a desire that blessing be available at the end in a full way. While all this affects His heart, He still says to Laodicea, “if any one hear my voice”, Rev 3: 20.
JW The Lord’s laying His right hand on John would show that if we are to continue in these conditions and be serviceable to the Lord it is in the power of life.
DMW That was the impression in linking these scriptures together. Life, and you cannot think of life without love. Mr Darby says there is no truly loving except in the truth (2 John 1 - footnote). Beloved, let us not be carried away with our own thinking. There is one life before us and reverence would become us as we take up these things. Words do matter. There should be words like those spoken by the Lord Jesus in John 6 - “the words that I have spoken to you are … life”, v 63. Introducing notions in our own minds spoils life. It might be said there is no love if you do not allow something new, but it is because of love that I would not, because I understand the judicial character of the Lord Jesus; always observing, always near, looking to find that desired by His own heart, something that He desires to come to light in a living body of persons known as His assembly.
PM Is His death in this section presented in a distinctive way? It is not exactly that He died for our sins here, He became dead. I wondered if that had a bearing on the scene of the testimony, that “He became dead” in view of the securing of what could be associated with Himself in an order of life and in the removal of all that was morally dead before God.
DMW That is helpful. We can see that His death meant blessing in view of our being identified with Him in life. You cannot think of the assembly being separated from Christ any more than you can think of divine Persons being separated; although they are distinguished, they are united. We cannot think of the assembly being separated from the heart of Christ. What does the assembly mean to us? Is it a sphere of life where we can breathe the atmosphere of love, where a way is made for the blessed Holy Spirit in persons, so that there can be a response to God for His own pleasure? It takes the assembly for that. Is it to be available to Christ at the end? Yes, it is. We want to have whole thoughts, even in remnant conditions. We are not saying that we are the assembly but maintaining in our hearts the same corresponding valuation of what Christ’s valuation is for the assembly seen in Philadelphia.
RJF The wording here is interesting, it is not ‘behold I became dead’, but, “behold, I am living”. Attention is drawn to the “I am living”.
DMW In John 14 the Lord Jesus spoke of another Comforter. He was speaking of the Spirit who was with them, and would be in them, and He declares that “because I live, ye also shall live”, v 19. He is a blessed living Man out of death, “the resurrection and the life”, John 11: 25. Resurrection and life go together. He was great enough to ascend, as He could tell Mary, and yet how wonderful, “I ascend to my Father and your Father” (John 20: 17), now in resurrection, where everything is new for us and a new principle of resurrection for God. He could not say before His death and resurrection, “my Father and your Father... my God and your God”. But out of death, raised and ascended, there is a company here associated with Him intelligently as He brings us into life and that is in relationship with the Father, and manhood for God.
PM Is that the force of the fact that He is living here to the “ages of ages”. The assembly will live in His life eternally will she not?
DMW Yes. He has the keys of death and hades. It is His right to have everything. He has the assembly to live in His life eternally. Is it not a wonder, as we sang at the outset, of the place that He has in our heart, so unique? The blessed Head. Wisdom is mentioned in that hymn as well; wisdom, power and love. That is our blessed Head. He holds everything.
RWMcC At the beginning of Genesis God says, “I will make him a helpmate, his like” (Gen 2: 18), but then it says, “Jehovah Elohim built the rib that he had taken from Man into a woman; and brought her to Man”, v 22. Is it a great thought that He brings her to him?
DMW He is a real Man. He desires to be intimate with His bride. He is confident in her as His wife here in His absence, but she is one flesh with Him as His bride. See what a great test is put on us responsibly, whether or not we think the same thing, whether or not we are joined in soul, whether or not we are one, in unity. What should be evident at the time of union is a company already united, no deviation from Him in Manhood, so that she can be for His heart and He for hers.
PH This falling at His feet as dead would bring in worship, would it? “Worship at His footstool. He is holy!”, Ps 99: 5.
DMW John may have been a bit unsure. What an experience he had, the revelation of Jesus Christ. The Lord would always set us at ease. It is true what you say, and we should never forget who it is we are speaking of or to. Not only “God manifest in flesh” (1 Tim 3: 16) but “God over all, blessed for ever, Rom 9: 5. That is this Person and, while we cannot divide the thoughts, we still distinguish them. So when a brother was speaking about one flesh in Genesis, it is not a question of worship there, it is a question of the response of love; a man and a woman together, one flesh. He is certainly due worship but not at union. I think in His putting His hand upon John He would put Him at ease. Not to be familiar with Him, not to use familiar terms with Him, but to be at ease and worshipful, and remain in the state needed for John to get the fullness of what the Lord Jesus was going to say to him.
TH Could you help us some more about the idea of fear that you are touching on - “fear not”: in a previous scripture you were speaking of the beginning of wisdom, the separation from evil and the fear of God. Is this not a different kind of fear? “Perfect love casts out fear, 1 John 4: 18. It is perfect love we are speaking of in this situation when He put His hand on John like this.
DMW I was trying to distinguish that a bit, it is perfect love that has cast out fear. John writes of life abundantly, “I am come that they might have life, and might have it abundantly”, John 10: 10. That is unfettered life. What you are saying is helpful because as we approach Him as a divine Person we bow our hearts in worshipful reverence, we extol His blessed Name. We are not familiar towards Him at all. He is a Man, but He is more than a Man; but He is a Man, and as a Man He has something for His heart. That is where the idea of one flesh comes in, what was of Himself, that is what the assembly is in its bridal feature as in union with Him.
AMcS Before we come to the bridal aspect of the assembly at the end of this book we have the Lord presented as the Son over God’s house in chapters 2 and 3. Is that important?
DMW It is. He is over God’s house in that way and manner. We must always remember that we are in mixed conditions and at any moment at any time in the house of God I might behave in such a way that would preclude my enjoyment of life as it is intended to be enjoyed before God in His house. As you are saying, and as we spoke of earlier, what should be found already when we reach union is this oneness, our being united, and saying the same thing is important I think. We are thinking the same thing, we are joined in soul, but that depends on the exercise I have in being near to the Spirit and the brethren, so that there are moral conditions for oneness, and for readiness spiritually to ascend, I would say.
WMcC Is there something of the character of “the Spirit and the bride say, Come” (Rev 22: 17) as we are approaching that time of the bridal side at the Supper and at the worship of God?
DMW I think so. It is going to be quite a day when we can be in the reality of that cry, and the answer comes. It is going to be quite a day when the Man of God’s choice is manifested. There will be nothing to hinder us, no lion-like character at all attaching to us. Our hearts will be so engaged with Himself that there will be no room for anything else as the period of Isaiah 11 is ushered in on the earth.
JW Do we have to accept an obligation as to what you have been saying as to unity? We may be content to go on with a divided outlook on things, but it is an exercise to us that we should take on that obligation and be exercised about it?
DMW Both Philippians and Corinthians put the obligation on us. How can there be a manifestation of the Spirit, for example in 1 Corinthians 12, unless we are joined to the Lord by one Spirit, unless we are in the gain of the Spirit’s baptism, where there is “one body and one Spirit”, Eph 4: 4. It is put on us responsibly, not to bring in something in our minds which would lead to bringing some notion into the company. The Spirit too is sensitive. So just like in our actual baptism, which we are to get back to and see what has to be removed in the area of things we enter upon in Christianity, baptism of the Spirit is in view of something. We have to think about the baptism of the Spirit, which occurred once, as to how I am lined up with those in the body. It is put on us to endeavour to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the uniting bond of peace.
WMcC So we need the principle of the yoke fellow.
DMW That is good. Christianity is to be practised. There was difficulty amongst two sisters in Philippi, but the antidote is life amongst the saints, “and let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus”, Phil 2: 5. The lowly Jesus is the answer.
PM Does fellowship then precede the Supper, the Supper being the expression of it; but fellowship must precede that?
DMW Quite, and I think the first aspect of fellowship that we would do well to come to is the fellowship of His death. Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathæa in John 19 (v 38, 39) were ready for fellowship, because they identified themselves with the death of Christ. They were not ready before that. Then we have the joy and happiness of mingling with the brethren in love, all thinking the same thing now, all headed the same direction, all exercised that the renewed mind be in activity and not the mind of the flesh. All are exercised to make way for the Spirit to prove what He can do, being aware that He is sensitive in these matters and how we handle things. I repeat what Mr Renton said, 'We may speak a lot about self judgment but what about the judgment of self?’ All that enters into it, I am sure, if we are to be rightly in fellowship.
TH You were speaking earlier about union and oneness, you are now speaking about unity. The experience of union is connected with unity. Could you help us some more about this. If we have difficulty in being united in a locality, can you help us in how we enter into a sense of union?
DMW From the divine side and viewed abstractly it is there, but Christianity is not a matter of simple abstractions or what is theoretical. Life is to be lived and experienced and life responsibly in the testimony is an important matter. I do not know that in my own mind I distinguish too much between being united and oneness, but what should flow out of that are conditions suitable for the enjoyment of union - one flesh - during the service of God.
10th June 2006