Daniel 9: 20-23

Leviticus 6: 14-23

Philippians 2: 5-21

PM  I have been thinking a little since Lord’s day as to the evening oblation.  It comes into this section in Daniel, and is perhaps peculiarly applicable in the present time as a feature marking the end of the dispensation.  There was what was inaugural, at the beginning, but Daniel brings out to us a man who, although in the midst of such breakdown and failure, is maintaining the evening oblation.  The oblation speaks of Christ, here in perfect, lowly, obedient manhood.  It is not quite the same as the manna, although the manna was fine and granular: the manna came down from heaven and was food for the people in the wilderness; the oblation relates to what grew up here in all its fine character and was for the pleasure of God, and, in wonderful grace, the blessed God has given to us the opportunity to feed on what He feeds on in the detailed perfection of the humanity of Jesus. 

         It seems that Daniel was feeding on that, and here he is not taking his bearings from the breakdown and the confusion that was all around, so that what gives character to Daniel’s intercession before God is a man who is feeling things in the light of the oblation.  I wondered, dear brethren, if we might consider that a little together.  As to the Lord Jesus coming into manhood and growing up, it says in Isaiah 53: “For he shall grow up before him”, v 2.   Think of the perfection of every detail of the life of the Lord Jesus: “he shall grow up before him”.  It has been said that the Father could not take His eye off Christ because every detail of that humanity was so delightful and was manifested in a way that had never been seen before.  The divine standard in relation to man came into expression in one blessed Man.  The divine standard was there, and the divine standard was there for God, and it is there for us.  What wonderful grace!

         In Leviticus we have the law of the oblation.  In chapter 2, we have the presentation of the oblation in all its fineness, but in chapter 6 we have the oblation in relation to the priest, and it is to become the priest’s food.  It was not voluntary in chapter 6; it was obligatory.  No doubt, in giving the law of the oblation as a provision for the priest to feed on, Jehovah had in view what would be maintained throughout that dispensation of which we read, and throughout our dispensation, that there would be maintained that which would be for the divine pleasure according to the divine standard.

         I thought something of it came out in Philippians, although we may not cover the detail of these passages; but might get some impression of Christ.

JDG  It is very, very interesting.  We were actually looking at Daniel in this city on Wednesday night to see how he functions publicly in the testimony in administration in man’s area, but secretly; but beside that, he had this other aspect of what was secret with heaven as “one greatly beloved”.

PM  It is most affecting that here was a man praying to God in a day of breakdown and departure; he is taking his bearings from the evening oblation and immediately there is the support and confirmation of heaven: “for thou art one greatly beloved”.  At the end of the book he is to go his way and stand in his lot at the end of the days, chap 12: 13.

JDG  His exercise sprang from his desire to see the deliverance of the Lord’s people by the Lord’s coming at the end of the seventy weeks.

PM  Yes.  He was feeling in relation to God’s people as to what they were before God.  Is that not something of the feature of the oblation, if I might speak carefully, a type of Christ, feeling things as they are before God?  Daniel takes that up.

JDG  He takes on himself the burden related to the whole people.  That is a feature of Christ, vicariously.

PM  How affecting that is!  “Him who knew not sin he has made sin for us”, 2 Cor 5 21.  What movements they were, the One who was here knowing what was before Him.  I was thinking of the reference in Luke 9 where it says, “he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem”, v 51.  Think of the Lord Jesus committing Himself to go that way, “the dying of Jesus”, 2 Cor 4: 10!

JCG  You have more in mind as to the evening oblation; you were stressing the fact that it was in the evening?  In Leviticus the continual oblation is taken, morning and evening, half and half.  Do you have something in your mind about that?

PM  You can help us, but I thought we might look at the evening oblation as bearing on the close of the dispensation.  There was the morning oblation.  Think of Peter and John going up to the temple!  There is something wrought out in those men.  They say, “Look on us”, Acts 3: 4.  There was something of the feature of the morning oblation, the opening up in those early days of the dispensation as to the glory of the One who not only was raised but who was glorified, the place that He had in the Father’s affections.  Peter says of Him, “ye, by the hand of lawless men, have crucified and slain.  Who God has raised up”, Acts 2: 23.  Think of what was there at the beginning!  But we come to the end and it is to be commensurate with what was at the beginning, and what was being offered to God at the close of the dispensation in Daniel’s day was to be commensurate with what was at the beginning, and is that not to be so with us? 

DCB  It says of Daniel that he “continued”; “Daniel continued unto the first year of king Cyrus”, Dan 1: 21.  He continued with this food, so what was at the end of his life was commensurate with what was at the beginning of his life.

PM  And it was a long life.  We were speaking about this in the house before we came out, the length of time in which Daniel was in captivity, and yet it appears that through that time Daniel held to what God’s thoughts were for His people.  He had that view of God’s thoughts for His inheritance and he is sustained in it.  He says, “about the time of the evening oblation”.  Where are we taking our bearings from?  Is it the perfection of what has come into display in a Man in lowly circumstances here? 

DCB   You have referred to Luke.  There is something of the character of the oblation with Luke, and Luke continues - “Luke alone is with me” (2 Tim 4: 11) - as in a broken day, and he is also one who is referred to as “beloved”, Col 4: 14.

PM   We might have read in Luke because Luke, of all the gospel writers, brings out features of the oblation.  I would just say for the young people: do not read the gospels as a life history of the Lord Jesus here, because that is not how they were written.  They were never written to be a life history of Jesus.  They were written to present the Person and they were written in the light of where He is now, and that is how we are helped to take them up.  The oblation comes after the burnt-offering.  If we are to get the gain of it, it comes in the light of the death of Christ, because all that was here in perfection had to be given up, and had to be given up for God, and it is in the light of that that we can partake of the oblation.  Luke brings out the character of what that manhood was, “the holy thing”, chap 1: 35.  He begins that way.

RG  Daniel was doing this at a time when Jerusalem was in ruins, but he is not seeing Jerusalem in ruins.  He is seeing the oblation and its suggestions of the wonder of the Person, of the manhood, of Christ that is going through in triumph, and will go through in triumph until the true Jerusalem comes in all its beauty and glory to be seen by us all.

PM  That is very helpful.  He was seeing what the purpose of God was for Jerusalem and he was looking on to the days in which all that would come into its own expression in perfection and in glory, and God will have done it all.  He is feeding, as you say, on the One in whom everything has been centred for the establishment of God’s ways with Israel and for the establishment of His ways with man.  How great this blessed Person is!

JTB  As remarked, the matter of time comes into the law of the oblation, as you read in Leviticus, as distinct from the presentation of it in Leviticus 2.  This is also carried forward to Numbers 28 where it is linked with the burnt-offering and the drink-offering, a blessed, holy combination which lends particular satisfaction to the heart of God.  Is that really one of the products of the oblation as brought by His people, satisfaction for the heart of God?  So he refers to it as “My offering, my bread for my offerings”, Num 28: 2.  What holy feeding for God in the blessed perfection of that holy One, do you think?

PM  That is helpful and important because generally the oblation was offered along with the burnt-offering.  I think what you say is helpful, and think of God giving us to feed on what He is feeding on!  The Lord Jesus spoke of Himself in John as “the bread of God” (chap 6: 33), and yet He has come within our range.  What a constitution is to be built up in the saints.  In Leviticus 6 it was essential for the priestly family to feed on the perfection of this blessed Man if they were to function rightly as priests for God, and is that not so for us?

JTB  It is very significant that the truth of the oblation is carried forward to Numbers, the wilderness, you might say.  So the blessed features of that holy life are represented in the saints in the offerings which they send Godward.

PM  That is just one’s exercise, that there might be formed in us something of the features that were there in the manhood of Jesus in perfection and fullness, and those features in the oblation are Godward.  When the Lord Jesus was here, every thought of His was Godward.  It all centred in what was for God.  He found His meat in doing the things of the Father.  That was His meat.

JDG  Would the matter of “before Jehovah my God for the holy mountain of my God” be a feature of a man that was seen in Christ, now seen in Daniel, concerning God’s great thoughts and purpose, and in time too?

PM  You are linking that with the mountain?

JDG  “The holy mountain of my God”: it is down here; it is something seen down here in the saints that is in accord with Christ in glory.

PM  Very fine.  He is taking a view of the purpose of God, and the Man in whom all is centred, but the way in which it is wrought out here in testimony.  Although publicly it is in ruins, and so it is today, someone who is taking their bearing from the oblation can begin to see things as God sees them.  What a wonderful thing that is!

JDG  And God sees in that man the features of the oblation.  His practice is bringing out that the oblation is formed in him.

PM  That is just the point.

NJH  Would the feature of patience be formed in Daniel by taking the oblation?  He did not shorten the time that had come through the prophet Jeremiah.  Others thought it would be reduced.  But “the word of my patience” comes in in what is written to Philadelphia (Rev 3: 10), and I wondered if that is not produced through the oblation being partaken of.

PM  I am sure it is, and it was seen here in Jesus.  We might just ponder that, the feature of patience.  I think it has been said by another that the Lord never rushed; rushing is a sign of a lack of spirituality.  The Lord never rushed.  He waited on the Father.  He waited for the Father’s word.  “He wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the instructed”, Isa 50: 4.  Think of the perfection of that manhood!  Although He knew all that was before Him, He waited for the Father’s word.

RG  One of the greatest tests of faith is patience, and we see that worked out in the Lord, “the leader and completer of faith”, Heb 12: 2.  How patient He was in fulfilling the Father’s will for the Father’s pleasure!

PM  Yes, and moving here as a dependent Man, the feature of patience was in expression.

JCG  Do you think also that associated with patience is Daniel’s references to prayer?  He “was speaking, and praying … and presenting my supplication”.  Does that bring out the fact that he waited on divine Persons in relation to what was to be revealed?  That would be another feature for us at the close of the dispensation, would it?

PM  Is that not also a feature of Luke’s presentation of the oblation, the Lord Jesus, the praying Man?  We are told very little as to the prayers of the Lord Jesus, but Luke brings out the character of the Man that prayed.

DBR  There is “the man Gabriel” and then his word, “to make thee skilful of understanding”, and then later it says, “consider the word, and have understanding”.  Is understanding an inward feature?  You spoke about what is constitutional.  I thought understanding was really on that line; it is a constitutional thing.

PM  Does not Daniel here show that he was the character of man to whom divine Persons could open things up?  We might say that divine Persons are willing to open things up to everyone, and from one point of view that would be true, but Daniel was the kind of man that could receive them.  He was a man in whom these features were formed.  He waited and sought confirmation by the divine word.

DBR  I think it is important.  It says, “whilst I was speaking”.  God took the opportunity to impart something to him.  On our side we should be ready for that kind of word.  It would involve more than knowledge; I think it is an inward matter involved in understanding.

PM  “Think of what I say,” Paul says to Timothy, “for the Lord will give thee understanding in all things”, 2 Tim 2: 7.  We are thankful for the knowledge of the truth.  Would that we had more - I speak for myself - but understanding is something deeper.  I think what you say is helpful; it is inward.  It comes from being in the divine presence.  Daniel says, “whilst I was yet speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel … flying swiftly, touched me”.  It shows, does it not, how heaven delights in this kind of feature formed in the saints?

RT  It looks as if heaven was looking for a man like this, does it not?  “Whilst I was yet speaking in prayer …”.  In a sense, as has been referred to, it is as if God would like to make him a confidante of how He was carrying things through.

PM  Do you think that is suggested in the fact that he “touched me”?  He identified himself with a man that heaven was looking for, to whom he could show what was going to yet take place in divine ways.  I believe it would be perhaps an incentive to us, especially when we are young.  We may have exercise; we may have desire.  Speak to divine Persons about it, and in prayer you get some impression from divine Persons themselves.  It may not be through an angel like Gabriel as Daniel had, but think of divine Persons looking for those to whom they can impart something of the treasures that are in their own heart.

RT  It reminded me of Simeon in Luke: “it was divinely communicated to him”, chap 2: 26.  It was as if heaven was looking for vessels to be in line with their movements.  He does not act independently.

PM  No, and he was there in relation to the temple which would suggest what you say, that he is not independent in his movements, but he is available.  It is a great thing to hold myself available.  I think this matter of prayer and waiting on divine Persons, in order that there might be the impartation of some understanding, is important.  One who helped us said, ‘I fear much activity without much prayer’.

         Perhaps we should go on to Leviticus.  Luke’s gospel really opens up in a peculiar way what we have in the setting out of the truth of the oblation in Leviticus.  In Leviticus 2 we have the “fine flour mingled with oil”, v 4.  That underlies any understanding of the oblation, really, that every feature, all that could be seen in expression in that perfect humanity, was of the Holy Spirit.  Nothing was out of accord with the operation and power and support of the Holy Spirit. 

JAB  Could you say something about the regularity of this and what that means for us as believers?  It was offered every day, in the morning, and in the evening, and we know from Daniel that he prayed every day.  What does that mean for us?

PM  It is the priestly service Godward that is in view here, is it not?  That begins in secret in the believer’s life, both in the morning and in the evening.  It is important to seek to get some impression of Christ, and to speak to the Father of some impression of Christ that I might have received, in the morning and in the evening.  That is not only for my blessing, but it is for the Father’s pleasure.

JAB  I feel greatly tested.  I do not suppose there is anyone here who does not pray when they get up in the morning and then before they go to bed in the evening, but how often that involves asking for things!  It can become almost routine with us, but what you are suggesting, I think, is that we should offer to the Father some impression of what you are speaking about as to the Lord Jesus, and get some impression for ourselves of His preciousness to the Father even in the regularity of our morning and evening communion with divine Persons.

PM  I feel more tested than any as to it, but it seems to me that in reading maybe just a few verses in the morning - and the Father understands what time we have - if we make a little time to get some impression of Christ and to speak to the Father about Him, it brings out divine pleasure and helps to form the features of priesthood in the saints.

JAB  Is that what the handful is?

PM  You will only get a handful.  That is my measure, is it not?  I could not take it all.  I could not encompass the whole of what God finds in that perfect humanity of Christ.  That is immeasurable, but I can take my handful.  What a wonderful thing that is: take a handful and present it on the altar to Jehovah.

RG  It is “his handful”.  How big is my hand?  That is the test for me anyway.

PM  And that would characterise what the offerer did with his hand through the rest of the day.  He has taken his hand and he has taken a handful of the oblation and offered it to Jehovah.  You can see how it forms the priestly constitution.  It links a little, I think, with what we have in Romans 12.  Paul says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the compassions of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your intelligent service”, v 1.  It seems to me that what is proceeding there in the believer with the renewed mind is the appreciation of Christ that causes the believer to say, ‘I want my body to be entirely in accord with what God found in Jesus’.

DBR  It was presented before God, but then the remainder had to be eaten.  Is that what is in your mind?  So again the constitutional thought enters into the moral being of the believer, do you think, as we eat?  What would the eating involve?

PM   You will help us, but does not eating involve that it is not only that my mind lays hold of what is presented to me, but that, in going over with the Holy Spirit the light that is presented, it becomes formative in me?  It must involve that the Holy Spirit works in the heart and soul of the believer to make way for the effect of the presentation of Christ, not only to my mind.  I fear the danger of receiving truth in the mind only, but it involves that the affections are stirred and that the believer’s heart is satisfied.

DBR  I think that is very helpful.  I was thinking that as God in His grace takes us up, He has the whole man in mind, not merely his mind, and this must be how morally we are built up in our constitutions, do you think?

PM  I am sure of that.  In the day of which we are reading in Leviticus the whole life of the priest was devoted to the service Godward.  That was his life.  He did not have the favour that I have.  He did not have the gift of the Holy Spirit.  He did not have a Man in the glory for his affections, but his whole life was devoted in service Godward.  Now where is mine?

GAB  Do you think what is presented to God is a limited amount depending on my capacity, but the remainder seems to be endless?  It is on-going; there is enough for us to feast on for ever.  I was just thinking of the word John gives us at the end of his gospel: “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which if they were written one by one, I suppose that not even the world itself would contain the books written”, chap 21: 25.

PM   How boundless the supply for our affections!  Mr Hutson used to remind us that there is a world that could contain all the books written.

DJH  I was just looking at the note to the word “take”.  It says, “he shall take of it his handful”.  The note says ‘Or “heave”.’  It suggests there is something very substantial.  Although my capacity is so limited, what I take is something really substantial.

PM  Is that not so in every aspect of divine things?  My capacity is so small, as you say, but what we are touching is eternal and glorious and limitless.  Paul had his handful in writing to the Ephesians.  He said, “and to know the love of the Christ which surpasses knowledge”, chap 3: 19.  He had his handful.

DJH  I think that is good.  I have often thought of that scripture: “to know” something “which surpasses knowledge”.  I often think of expressions in scripture which the grammarian and the literal man would say are a contradiction and impossible, but it is wonderful “to know” something “which surpasses knowledge”.  That would be like the handful, the substantiality of what is there.

PM  There are young men and women here who are committing themselves to get the truth, and we thank God for that, but let us always bear in mind that what is presented there to us is always greater than what any one of us could ever encompass.

NJH  What difference do you see between “mingled” and “saturated”?  In verse 21 it is “saturated with oil”.

PM  I would like to know what you feel as to that, but it seems to me that the mingling relates peculiarly to the incoming of the Lord Jesus.  He came in, a different kind of Man to all that had come in before, “that which is begotten … is of the Holy Spirit”, Matt 1: 20.  Luke says, “the holy thing also which shall be born”, chap 1: 35.  There was there intrinsically in Jesus that which was completely apart from all that had come from Adam’s race.  It was “of the Holy Spirit”.  But then as he came into manhood it became manifest that every movement was of an entirely different character, and He acted by the Holy Spirit.  How perfect, how glorious!  And what was there was entirely for God.  The priest would get some impression of the expression of the holiness and the perfection that was entirely for God apart from what was of man, entirely for God.  Does that not link with the saturating with oil?  The priest would say there is something quite different here.

JDG  Does the eating produce in me features of holiness characteristically?

PM  Yes, and maintains them.

JDG  I was thinking about what you said about morning and evening and in between is the day, but I develop this characteristic feature of holiness in me, begotten of the Holy Spirit.  Features of Christ in the believer are begotten by the Holy Spirit.

PM  In Jesus there was nothing that militated against what was of the Holy Spirit, but with me there is, and I need the Spirit’s help to judge what is of the flesh and to form in me the features that are in keeping with the humanity of Jesus.  In us “the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh”, Gal 5: 17.  That was never so in Jesus.  The oblation was saturated with oil.  There was nothing else.

NJH  It is without measure.  Christ had the Spirit without measure.

PM  Yes, “God gives not the Spirit by measure”, John 3: 34.  That was so in relation to the Lord Jesus.  The Holy Spirit came upon Him “in a bodily form as a dove” in Luke (chap 3: 22), full identification of one divine Person with another, and in that humanity there was nothing there other than what was pleasurable to God.  God found in Jesus every feature He looked for, and found nothing that displeased Him.

JTB  Why is it that in the law of the oblation it is only the pan that is referred to, not the cauldron and the oven?

PM  I wondered about that.  Go on, please.

JTB  I wondered if it just bore on what you are saying.  The oven brings out the intensity of enclosure and heat.  It has often been said the intensity of the heat was there in the oven, but is the pan something more open?  I notice it says, “It shall be prepared in the pan”.  Does it bring out just what you are saying?  It involves our scrutiny of that perfect life, do you think?  As we prepare it, fresh features of that holy life come into view, do you think?

PM  I am sure of that, and going on to the cross, what He suffered, both in His spirit and in His body as He moved onward to the cross!  It was there for man to see.  He took the disciples with Him to Gethsemane.  They saw as “his sweat became as great drops of blood, falling down upon the earth” (Luke 22: 44) and heard Him saying, “Father, if thou wilt remove this cup from me”, v 42.  Was that not something of the oblation in the pan?  What was baked in the oven was unseen, what He felt in His spirit.  “He came to his own, and his own received him not”, John 1: 11.  How much He felt that!  He did not assert His right over them; He appealed to them in grace; He never appealed to man as the Creator.  He could have appealed to man as the Creator, but He did not.  He “emptied himself … becoming obedient even unto death”.  What feelings were in His heart as He went on, spat upon and rejected and buffeted, standing before a priest who should have been the one who would receive Him.  What feelings were in His affections, and that all relates to the sufferings in the oven, what He suffered in His spirit, but in the pan, it was what was seen by man.  

DHM  The gospels bear that out to an extent, do they not?  The gospel writers who were with the Lord Jesus must have had some impression and reflection of these fine features coming out, which they could reflect on as seeing Him at close quarters.  Often you must think of how the Lord spoke, the way He spoke, the way He comported Himself; they would have special touches of that, and that comes through and shines out in the gospels.

PM  Yes, and in every circumstance in which He was, He is considering for God in it all.  “I have food to eat which ye do not know”, John 4: 32.  Then when you come to John, He says, “On this account the Father loves me”, chap 10: 17.  “For the Father loves the Son and shews him all things which he himself does”, John 5: 20.  Think of the detail of what was there in the perfect life of the Lord Jesus that the Father found His delight in!  It is as if the Father would say to the Lord Jesus, ‘I will show you what I am doing today’.  It says here, “he shall take of it his handful of the fine flour”.  Maybe when we are working we have limited time and pressures are great, and we may tend just to bundle things together - I speak carefully.  I feel that feeding on the oblation would help us to appreciate grain by grain of the fine flour.

PAG  Can you help us then as to why in verse 17 of Leviticus 6 it says, “as the sin-offering, and as the trespass-offering”?  Why are these offerings brought in also?

PM   “It shall not be baken with leaven.  As their portion have I given it unto them of my offerings by fire: it is most holy; as the sin-offering, and as the trespass-offering”.  You will help me here, please, but while the type speaks of the lowliness of the Lord Jesus, yet the holiness and the glory of what was manifested in the burnt-offering, and the holiness in the sin-offering which had to be offered, not from the earth, but on the basis of life being given up was equally as holy for God.

PAG  I think what you say is helpful because, as you have rightly said, we need to appreciate the detail and distinction of the features of Christ, but it is all one Person.  I was thinking of the line of the hymn that says:

         All that God’s holy mind

         Has sought in man to find,

         All that His love designed,

        Secured by Thee!

                               (Hymn 268),

— all in one Man!

PM  And only one Man could be the anti-type of all these offerings.  Everything that was going to be secured for God was secured in Him.  Everything that was going to be upheld for God was upheld in this blessed Man, and everything that He did drew out the Father’s pleasure.

RG  Does that link with your reference in Philippians, “becoming obedient even unto death, and that the death of the cross.  Wherefore …”.  You do not get the “Wherefore” until you get “and that the death of the cross”.  You get the oblation in “becoming obedient even unto death”, but then the sin-offering and the burnt-offering in “and that the death of the cross”.  God understood as no other could what was happening at that time, “Wherefore also God highly exalted him, and granted him a name, that which is above every name”.

PM  That is helpful.  All had to be worked out on the basis of death, His death.  What a death it was!  But there was the pathway of the Lord Jesus leading up to the cross, as you say, “becoming obedient even unto death, and that the death of the cross”.  He was not obedient to death.  Death had to give way.  It fled when He went into it, but He was obedient as far as death “and that the death of the cross.  Wherefore also God highly exalted him”.  The basis for man to answer to the feeding of the oblation was laid in the death of Christ and in His rising again in order that the Spirit might come.  Everything depended on that.

RG-y  Do you think that what we are saying now bears on the matter of understanding that we touched on earlier in the reading?  I am thinking of the verse in Jeremiah which says, “but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me”, chap 9: 24.  We know God from the day of our conversion, perhaps before, but to come to understand Him would involve something of His motives, would it not, understanding of His mind, or am I going too far?

PM  No.  and also the understanding of His heart and of his grace.  The apostle, great man as he became, never lost the sense of that.

RG-y  Understanding really would take us as far as sonship, would it not?  And that is what God would greatly desire that we are with Him, as thankful, of course, but with Him in that sense as understanding why He is doing things the way He does.

PM  I think what you say as to sonship is helpful because Leviticus 6 actually leads on to that.  It is Aaron’s son that will rise up after the death of the priest.  It is sonship.  True sonship is maintained in the dignity of priestly service.  As you say, and helpfully, priestly service is maintained in an understanding of the God whom we serve.

DCB  There are features in the oblation which are solely for God, the frankincense and also the priest’s oblation.  It is for God.  Do we have to bear in mind that there is what only God can appreciate of the moral glories that were shown in Christ?

PM  I am sure that is so, the frankincense speaking of the fragrance to God that was there in the perfection of Jesus.  It was for God.  The priest might have some sense of it.  He had to take it and offer it, but it was entirely for God.  The hymn-writer says:

         Where men God’s rights withheld,

         Thine offering excelled:

         What odours choice He smelled,

         So rich in Thee!

                           (Hymn 268).

That is priestly service in that hymn, just bringing out something of what was there for God’s pleasure.  There in that perfect humanity the fragrance was ascending for the nostrils of God.

RT  “And being in conflict he prayed more intently”, Luke 22: 44.  He sought no other means of resource although some were available.  He was wholly committed to God.

PM  Yes, what can we say as to that?

RT  Perfection in a Man!

PM  Indeed.  Think of the Lord Jesus, who He was here as a dependent Man, being “in conflict”.  “He prayed more intently”.  He is to be the model for us, is He not?  We are not speaking of imitating the life of Christ.  We could never do that.  But what we are speaking of is feeding on the order of humanity that would form the features of Christ.  It seems to me that the passage you refer to as to the Lord Jesus praying and praying “more intently” shows us where His resource was all the time, in relation to the Father.

RT  And the feeding brings about constitution, does it not?

PM  Yes.

DBR  Do you think Moses would have that in mind in his prayer in Psalm 90: “And let the beauty of Jehovah our God be upon us”, v 17.  You mentioned that in prayer, the beauty of Christ.  That beauty is to be seen in the saints now: “let this mind be in you” (‘be found amongst you’, Phil 2: 5 Note ‘l’).  It is a great test.  It becomes a great exercise as to in what measure the beauty of Christ is seen in us.

PM  Do you think that the feature that was seen in Jesus of considering for God in every moment is to be seen in the assembly?  There is not only what proceeds in our normal assembly calendar, as we speak of it, but also in the constitution of the local assembly, if we could use that expression, and in the assembly generally: there is to be that formed feature of considering for God.  That brings out divine pleasure.

DBR  It was the bent of the Lord’s mind that in everything God should be glorified, and that should be the bent of our mind too.  It would govern us in all our affairs and all the principles and regulation of our lives and fellowship, do you think, that that kind of mind is active amongst us?

PM  I think that. That is really why we touched on this passage in Philippians.  It says, “let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus”, to think as He thinks.  Paul says to the Corinthians, “But we have the mind of Christ”, 1 Cor 2: 16.  As having the Spirit, we have the resource to be able to think as Christ thinks, and that is what Paul is working at here with the Philippians because, in writing to the Philippians, Paul is writing as a heavenly Christian in view of a heavenly testimony in a company that was here.  Now, is that not to mark us at the present time, the heavenly testimony, bearing the features of Christ, “holding forth the word of life”?

NJH  Reference was made to Luke 22.  It says, “rising up from his prayer”, v 45.  Speaking with reverence, His prayer was the expression of Himself, and that is a test as to our approach to God if it is a true expression.  Is that right?

PM  It is, yes.  In any approach to God what we say and what we are in the eye of God go together.  It says as to Cain, “upon Cain, and on his offering, he did not look”, Gen 4: 5.  The offerer and the offering are together and if I say what I am not equal to, God knows that and measures it.  But with Jesus that was never so.  He was always equal.  He says to those that questioned Him in John 8 about who He was, “Altogether that which I also say to you”, v 25.  I do not know about you but I often say things that I am not equal to, and the Spirit would help us to be exercised that we might not move here just knowing the truth, but that we might be formed by it, and that the features of the oblation might in some measure come into greater expression.

JCG  “That ye may be harmless and simple, irreproachable children of God”: these are the features of Jesus coming out in the saints, do you think?  He was that in perfection, but do you think we have to express something of that?  The idea of “simple” is ‘single’, singleness of eye.

PM  And what is coming into expression is the “children of God”, and having their origin from the work of God itself so that there is that worked out here which is of God here in testimony.  Is that not a wonderful thing in the midst of a scene where as we finished, “For all seek their own things, not the things of Jesus Christ”.  In the midst of such a scene there are the features of what is of God here in testimony.

JCG  It is very testing.

PM  Yes, the expression of the One who was “meek and lowly in heart”, Matt 11: 29.

JDG  These are very simple things for us all to get the gain of as a result of our speaking together.  “Do all things without murmurings and reasonings, that ye may be harmless and simple, irreproachable children of God in the midst of a crooked and perverted generation; among whom ye appear as lights in the world, holding forth the word of life”.  That brings together all we have been speaking about, these features seen in the saints in a simple way.

PM  I wondered that.

RT  He took “a bondman’s form”.  Would bondmanship be one of the early fruits in us of feeding on the oblation?

PM  Yes.  He could have come in in another way, but He took “a bondman’s form”.  We can hardly understand what that is.  Not only did He serve as a bondman, but He took “a bondman’s form”.  He was here in the lowliness of a bondman and thus he was here to do the will of Another.

RT  The Authorised Version says He “made himself of no reputation”.

PM  And yet who was it?  It was the Creator.  The Creator was here having taken “a bondman’s form”.


11th January 2013