By George H. Warnock
And thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and Thummim; and they shall be upon Aaron's heart, when he goeth in before the LORD" (Ex. 28:30).
Of what form or substance these precious objects were made, we do not know. Nor do we really need to know. The true character and virtue of these gems (or whatever they were) is revealed in the names by which they are called, and in what they performed in the presence of God. First let us consider the meaning of the words, for they are Hebrew words, left untranslated in most of our English versions.
URIM: "Lights", from a word that means a flame, something luminous, glorious, shining.
THUMMIM: "Perfections", from a word meaning to complete, accomplish, make an end, come to the full, be made perfect.
Both words are in the plural; and the objects are two in number, which is a number of the corporate relationship in the body of Christ: the part and the counterpart, the right hand and the left, the right eye and the left, the right ear and the left--and so forth.
In Urim and Thummim we have Light--God's Light that comes to fulness, to perfection. We have a corporate expression of the Light and the Glory of God in fulness of manifestation. We have the full revelation of the word, of the heart and mind of God, in a people who have come into abiding union with Christ, and are hidden away in the breastplate of judgment.
When Aaron stood before the Most High God with priestly heart--adorned with priestly garments and anointed with holy oil--God Himself spoke forth in a clear, accurate and precise manner His righteous decrees. All Israel stood expectantly, yet fearfully, outside the Tabernacle, wondering what God might have to say to them on that great day.
They had the scriptures that Moses had written down for them. They had the decrees and the ordinances of God from the great lawgiver--and Urim and Thummim did nothing to change any of that. But they were a people of the Way. They were going somewhere. They were to face formidable enemies as they began to enter into the Land of Promise. Unforeseen circumstances would arise where they would need a very explicit word from the Lord. It would not be contrary to what was written. But it would pin-point and unfold some very specific instruction that they would need for direction as they walked in the unknown way, the unexplored way of the LORD. And after they entered the land they would need some very explicit instructions from the LORD as to the manner of their warfare, and how they were to conquer their enemies and possess the land.
Many of God's people do not seem to understand this. "We have the Word--what more do we need"? is the attitude of many. Let us make it clear: the word of God is all we need to fully equip us for a life of fruitfulness and godliness. But that Word must be illuminated by His Spirit as we walk along in the pathway of life. Also, there will be many times when we will need a very explicit word for particular moments of decision, or some grievous area of conflict, that the Bible was never intended to give us. It does not take from what is written, nor add to it. But we are a people of the Way, just as Israel was. And like them we need clear direction and guidance, and some very specific words from the heart of God from time to time, as we travel the unknown way, and go through areas of conflict and trial.
Now Joshua was warned that He must "meditate" in the "book of the law" day and night for his success (Josh. 1:8). Nevertheless he would need some direct counsel from the LORD along the way; and Eleazar the priest was to "ask counsel for him after the judgment of Urim before the LORD" (Num. 27:21). God would be faithful to give him clear and infallible direction--both as he went forth in battle, and as he came home in victory. It was not a game of chance--like the throwing of the dice, or a "yes" or "no" type of thing. It was a pure, clear word from the mouth of the LORD.
Saul looked for this kind of direction, but because his heart was alienated from God, God refused to help him. "The LORD answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets" (1 Sam. 28:6). God's Urim, God's clear, bright Light, is for those who will walk in it.
The governor of the remnant who returned from captivity to rebuild the temple and restore the priesthood, was not able to determine whether or not certain priests in Israel were valid priests of the Aaronic order. Their names could not be found in the genealogical records. How would they know? Therefore the governor decreed "that they should not eat of the most holy things, till there stood up a priest with Urim and with Thummim" (Ezra 2:63).
The scriptures could not help them here. Nor could they recreate these special gems, and try to operate them by faith. If God did not restore Urim and Thummim they would be totally helpless to do anything about it. Are we not confronted many times with perplexing problems such as this?
The Urim and Thummim were placed in the pocket of the breastplate, and this was fastened with chains of gold to the "ephod". The "ephod" therefore became identified with the illuminating word of Urim and Thummim, long after these precious objects seemed to have faded out of the picture. Samuel, as a young child in the Tabernacle was "girded with a linen ephod" (1 Sam. 2:18; also vs. 28). The ephod seemed to be that specific garment of the priesthood that gave validity to this high calling. And as Samuel grew older the Urim and Thummim was established in his heart so well that God "did let none of his words fall to the ground" (1 Sam. 3:19). The clear word that God spoke through Samuel was as valid and true as any message God gave to any of the former priests in Israel by Urim and Thummim. The linen ephod that Samuel wore as a boy in the Tabernacle, had blossomed forth into a garment of truth that he wore the rest of his days, and "All Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the LORD" (1 Sam. 3:20). When Abiathar fled from the wrath of Saul, he was careful to come to David "with an ephod in his hand" (1 Sam. 23:6). And though David was not a priest, he had the heart of a priest; and on many occasions he exercised priestly prerogatives--even going so far as to erect the Tabernacle of David on Mount Zion, where he as king of Israel might have priestly communion with God, and stand before the ark of the Covenant. In all of this he was a beautiful type and forerunner of Christ who would reign as a Priest upon the throne. Therefore when David stood in need of direct, explicit instructions from God, as to his own preservation, and as to the battles he must wage, he had access to "the ephod". God honored his prayers and gave clear direction as to the way he should go. God warned him that Saul would come down to Keilah searching for him, and so they must leave (1 Sam. 23:9-13). Again, when the enemy had smitten the camp where David and his men were living, and took away much spoil, David asked God what to do, and God told him specifically:
"Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all" (1 Sam. 30:8). There was nothing in the scriptures that could give him the counsel he needed for this specific occasion. But God gave him clear, direct, infallible direction, and David won a great victory. David, though officially a king, also functioned as a priest. How could it be otherwise, for he was "a man after God's own heart"? We have many volunteers for kingly power. But few there are who have hearts of meekness, humility, mercy, patience, longsuffering--after the heart of God. So when David brought back the ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, it should have been placed in the holy of holies of the Tabernacle. But David put it in a new Tabernacle that he had constructed for this new kingdom that prefigured the Melchizedek order, a kingdom and priesthood of righteousness and peace. And when the Ark was returning he put off his royal garments and put on a priestly "robe of fine linen" and an "ephod". Priestly ministry unto the Lord was more important to him than kingly power and authority (1 Chron. 15:27). No wonder the daughter of Saul, who was raised in royal splendour and had married a king, "despised" him in her heart--to see the king of Israel abasing himself to the level of a humble priest in Israel!
God has a Clear, Pure Word for His People
"And of Levi he said, Let thy Thummim and thy Urim be with Thy Holy One, whom Thou didst prove at Massah, and with whom Thou didst strive at the waters of Meribah. Who said unto his father and to his mother, I have not seen him; neither did he acknowledge his brethren, nor knew his own children: for they have observed Thy word, and kept Thy covenant" (Deut. 33:8, 9).
These were a holy people, totally committed to the LORD, set apart entirely unto the service of the sanctuary. There could be no human interference in their devotion to God. No relationship with brother, sister, father, mother, children--could have precedence over their service to God. Nothing could detract them from their all-consuming desire to observe God's word and keep His covenant. Like the disciples of Christ, they must forsake all if they would truly follow the LORD, and if He would truly be their Master. They had no inheritance that they could call their own--nothing that they could leave for their children, except the holy calling of priestly service. The Urim and Thummim by which Eleazar would divide the land of Canaan would designate nothing for the priestly tribe, even though Eleazar himself was a member of that tribe. Urim and Thummim were not something he could manipulate for his own advantage--for his own honour and glory. They would have cities to dwell in, and their needs would all be taken care of, but they were special to God and God was special to them. "Wherefore Levi hath no part nor inheritance with his brethren; the LORD is his inheritance, according as the LORD thy God promised him" (Deut. 10:9).
A clear, pure word would pour forth from their lips, because they feared and trembled before God, and because they observed His word and kept His covenant.
Urim and Thummim will not function in a rebellious heart
When Saul walked in disobedience, Urim and Thummim were silent, and he could find no direction from God. When he saw the armies of the Philistines melting away in confusion, he called for the ark of God and the priest to see what was going on, but nothing happened. Consequently he went ahead and acted according to his own best judgment. God was giving Jonathan a great victory, but Saul took the credit for it; and to seal his own authority he put the people under tight control and denied them access to the honey that flowed from the trees of the wood (See 1 Sam. 14).
The time came when the heavens were silent, and "the LORD answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets" (1 Sam. 28:6).
God said His Urim and Thummim were for His holy one, It is not for the self-willed and the rebellious. It is for a people who walk in truth, and who tremble at His word.
Urim and Thummim in John the Baptist
Urim and Thummim soon became extinct in Israel. God nevertheless was faithful to bring forth that clear word of Urim even in times of darkness and apostasy. God must have one who would stand before Him in true priestly ministry and deliver a pure, clear word to His people--no matter how apostate that people may have become. Our teachers are talking about ruling and reigning, about taking over earth's resources, and their governments, and the offices of presidents and prime ministers. But God is grieving over a backslidden and rebellious Church. And God will raise up a priesthood in this hour with Urim and Thummim, who will be anointed to show God's people "the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean" (Ezek. 44:23). God will have a prophetic priesthood that will carry "the burden of the LORD" upon their shoulders, and bear "the iniquity" of the people upon their hearts, and seek to turn them back to God.
Transition of Urim and Thummim from the Old Era to the New
Those original objects called Urim and Thummim soon faded away from Israel, for they were but types and shadows of reality. Yet even in Old Testament times God began to put Urim and Thummim in the hearts of His chosen vessels the prophets. They bore the judgment of the people upon their hearts before the Lord continually, as priests of the LORD; and sometimes it was a burden too grievous for them to bear.
When the priesthood had become corrupt God raised up a Samuel, with Urim in his heart, and he came to Israel with a clear, pure word from the mouth of God. "And all Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the LORD" (1 Sam. 3:20). Sure, they had the law, and the temple, and the priesthood, and the sacrifices. But when these fail God is faithful to raise up a Urim and Thummim ministry to turn the hearts of the people back to God. Jeremiah had that pure word from God, and it became a burden upon his shoulders that was so heavy he decided it was enough...
"Then said I, I will not make mention of Him, nor speak any more in His Name" (Jer. 20:9). (To be a prophet from God was evidently far from being a glamorous ministry in Jeremiah's eyes).
But how can a man with Urim (God's Holy Fire) in his bosom--how can he quench it? And so he testified: "His word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay". He said it made him more weary just trying to hold back the word--and he had to give it forth. One king thought he would extinguish the fire in Jeremiah's word by lighting his own fire and burning the prophet's words. But this only increased the fire in Jeremiah's heart, and God gave him the words again--and even more than he had written the first time. (See Jer. 36:32).
It was evidently a source of great perplexity in Israel to discover, after every season of restoration and revival, that the precious gems of Urim and Thummim were still not to be found in the breastplate of the high priest. They did not understand that God had placed these gems in His chosen ones the prophets, hidden away in the secret pockets of their hearts. They did not understand that even in their time the prophetic ministry was the beginning of a great transition from an old covenant to a new, from an old order to a new. Even the prophets themselves, though speaking a very clear and precise word from God, did not understand the nature of the times they wrote about. They knew they spoke clear words of warning to an apostate nation. But intermingled with their message were words of hope and promise for a day of glory that was yet to appear. As they sought God in the matter (for we are told that they "inquired and searched diligently" what they were prophesying about) God showed them that they were really speaking of the Church. the people of God who would be living after the resurrection of Christ:
"Unto whom (the prophets, who diligently sought God as to the intent of their words) it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven" (1 Pet. 1:12). We are taught today that the prophets spoke of an earthly, political, national kingdom to be set up in old Jerusalem. But God revealed a secret to them, that they spoke of these days following the resurrection of Christ: "Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days" (Acts 3:24).
Urim and Thummim in John the Baptist
About 400 years had gone by since Malachi had come to the nation with a clear word from God. Then God raised up the greatest prophet He had ever given to Israel. Jesus said that of all born of women, "There bath not risen a greater than John the Baptist" (Matt. 11:11). Never was there greater apostasy in Israel than when John arose in the spirit and power of Elijah, and sounded forth the call to repentance. All men who had understanding knew that John was established as the prophet of the Most High God. Luke in his narrative tells us about the very highly organized political and religious world that formed the setting for the sudden appearance of this great prophet.
"Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and..."-- then Luke goes on to elaborate on the very highly organized governments of the earth, just to give the setting in the midst of which "a man sent from God" would suddenly appear on the scene with a clear word from God. Tiberius was the emperor of the mighty Roman Empire. Pontius Pilate was governor of Judaea. Herod was over Galilee; His brother Philip over Ituraea and Trachonitis; and Lysanias over Abilene. Then there was a very magnificent religious system, ruled over by Annas and Caiaphas, the high priests. Why did the Spirit of God see fit to give us all these details? (See Luke 3:1, 2). I believe God is showing us that in the midst of this very highly organized political empire, and a very highly organized religious system--right here God introduces another Voice, clear and distinct from all the rest--a Voice that would herald the coming of an entirely new Kingdom. It was right here in the midst of gross apostasy that we read these words, "The word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness". (Luke 3:2). Out there in the wilderness God began to send forth a clear Word from His heart: "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand". The message was very clear: only one thing was acceptable to God-- "Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance" (Lk. 3:8). You cannot trust in your racial heritage,--even if you are the sons of Abraham. You cannot trust in your religious heritage, if you bear no fruit that is pleasing to God. The axe of God is ready to cut down every fruitless tree. The fan is in God's hand to blow away the chaff. A fire is about to be kindled, for the One that is coming is going to "baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire" (vs. 16). I know it is taught that this speaks of God's judgment to come upon the sinful nation. And I know we are told that God's people should not desire or anticipate this mighty, devastating baptism. But Jesus promised this baptism. "For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence" (Acts 1:5). It happened on the Day of Pentecost. And Peter remembered the words of Jesus again when the Holy Ghost fell on the Gentile believers in Caesarea:
"Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost" (Acts 11:16). Judgment? Of course! for we must know the judgments of God's fire in our hearts to purge us and cleanse us from all defilement. We are to expect it, look for it, anticipate it--The Fire of God's holy Presence, to consume all the chaff and dross in the House of God, and to make us Holy! To kindle the fire of the Burnt Offering--and to bring us into the Presence of the Shekinah Fire in the Holy of Holies. As priests of God we must come into His presence, and stand before Him--that this Holy Fire might be ignited in our own hearts. Once again God is raising up a people with Urim & Thummim in their hearts, who will live a pure and holy life and will speak a pure, clear Word in the midst of apostasy.
Urim and Thummim in the Son
All the prophets spoke of "these last days" when God's final revelation of Truth would come forth in His only begotten Son:
"God, who... spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son" (Heb. 1:1, 2). John was but a Voice in the wilderness. Jesus was Himself the Word, the incarnate expression of the Word of God. He did not come to change the real meaning of scripture, but to bring to light its true meaning. For in His humanity He was Himself the Word--not only because of what He said, but because of what He was--the very expression of God's heart walking in human form. In Him we have the very ultimate of God's intention in Urim and Thummim.
Nevertheless it was God's plan that the Son, having finished an earthly ministry would then enter a more glorious ministry in the heavens. His earthly ministry would culminate in His sacrificial death on the Cross. But He would rise from the dead as the Conquering One, and be enthroned at the Father's right hand in the heavens, and would continue to send forth that pure, clear word from His heavenly throne. In speaking from Heaven His Word would not be less effective than it was when He was here on earth, for the very Spirit of Truth that was in Him in earth, would now be implanted in the hearts of His chosen ones who would continue to speak that clear, pure word from the heart of God. I know we are inclined to think that as long as any human vessel is involved, the word from their lips is bound to be tainted with error and weakness. But God foresaw no problem in that area. God said His plan was the very best. And so before He went away Jesus assured His disciples: "It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you" (Jn. 16:7). Because He is in the heavens, bearing the breastplate of judgment upon His heart, on which are written the names of His people--He would continue to speak by Urim and Thummim with a clear, infallible, precise, pure word from the Father. There would be no mixture, no pollution of the word that would come from the Son in Heaven; because the Holy Spirit abiding in His people in the earth would be faithful to the charge laid upon Him to precisely and clearly communicate the words of Jesus to His chosen vessels in the earth. Now I know that men are teaching that we had perfection in the ministry of the Son while He was on earth, but that we will never find perfection in the ministry of the Holy Spirit as long as we poor mortals are involved; and generally that is the way it has been. Are we to conclude then that Jesus was wrong when He said it was "expedient" (better) that He went away so His Spirit could come to take His place in the earth, and in the hearts of His people? Not at all! God's way is best; and He will yet demonstrate that His way is best. The Son continues to reign as a Priest on the throne, and the work of the Holy Spirit is not yet finished. And the Lord Jesus has assured us that when He speaks from Heaven it will be sounded in the earth as clearly, as distinctly, and as purely as when He was here in our midst. Let us consider some of these precious secrets that He revealed to His disciples just before He went away:
(1) The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus.
He is described as "another Comforter", for the Man Christ Jesus is the Advocate on the throne, while the Holy Spirit is the new Advocate who would abide in His people in the earth. But He is in fact the very Spirit of the Lord Jesus, and distinguished from the Son only by reason of His new habitation in the earth:
"I (Jesus) will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you" (Jn. 14:18). And again, "I (Jesus) go away, and come again unto you" (vs. 28). Read it in its context. Clearly He is telling us that in going away He would come again and abide in His people, by the Spirit of Truth whom He would send from the Father.
(2) The Holy Spirit will perform Greater Works than when Jesus was here.
"And greater works than these shall he do; because I go to the Father" (Jn. 14:12). Not because His people are greater--they are much more frail, much more subject to weakness. But it is because Jesus has gone to the place of all power and authority in the heavens. And now the Father is "glorified in the Son" and the Son is "glorified" in His brethren in the earth. (Jn. 14:13; 17:10).
(3) Jesus is the Way--Then and Now.
"Whither I go ye know, and the way ye know" (Jn. 14:4). The Way would not be obscured because of His going away; because the Spirit of Truth would take up His habitation in His own in the earth (Jn. 14:6, 17).
(4) Intimacy with Christ assured--Then as Now.
"At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in Me, and I in you" (Jn. 14:20). This new intimacy of fellowship in the Holy Spirit would be of the same kind and nature as that which He Himself had with the Father. They would all be blended together in glorious union with one another and with the Father.
(5) His People to be a Home for Father and Son.
"We will come unto him, and make our abode with him" (Jn. 14:23). This is the promise to those who keep His words, and love Him. The eternal longing in the heart of God for a Home will finally be realized in the hearts of His people--the only Home that God has ever desired, the only Temple that God ever longed for.
(6) There will be Continuous Revelation of Truth.
The Holy Spirit will not fall short in His ministration of truth to His chosen ones. "He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you" (Jn. 14:26). And He would reveal other things to them as they needed it, and as they were able to receive it. "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth" (Jn. 16:13).
(7) There will be a Vine and Branch Relationship.
Union with Him would be as real as the union of a branch in the vine! "I am the true Vine, and my Father is the Husbandman... abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me" (Jn. 15:1, 4).
(8) There will be a Certainty of Answered Prayers.
In this abiding relationship in the Vine, the prayers of His people would be just as effectual as the prayers of the Son Himself. For in Him they not only will know how to pray, and what to pray for--but in union with Him it is His own desire that they are expressing before the throne. "If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you" (Jn. 15:7).
(9) God loves His own with the same Intensity by which He loves the Son.
"As the Father hath loved Me, so have I loved you: continue ye in My love" (Jn. 15:9). He also promised the Father that He would continue to make known the Father's Name to His people until--"The love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them" (Jn. 17:26).
(10) There is a Divine Provision to Abide in this Love.
"If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love, even as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love" (Jn. 15:10).
(11) There is Divine Enablement to Manifest that Love.
"This is My commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you" (Jn. 15:12). Enablement in His commandments? Yes, because the New Covenant commandments are not like the old. God's commandments are "life everlasting" (Jn. 12:50)--in the "ministration of the Spirit" (2 Cor. 3-8).
(12) Jesus tells His secrets to His Friends
"Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends for all things that I have heard of My Father I have made known unto you" (Jn. 15:15).
There is something higher than being a "servant" of the Lord. God wants "friends". God can find many servants to do what has to be done; but He has few "friends" with whom He can share His heart. Martha was cumbered about with "much serving". It was work that had to be done. But Mary chose "that good part". God had no need to create a Man in His image if all He wanted was service. He has thousands, tens of thousands of angelic hosts who can do that. But God wants friends, because He wants fellowship. Further--He needs fellowship, because He is a Father who longs for sons and daughters in His image and likeness, to share His love, His nature, His very heart. His heart cries out for this. He is looking for those who will worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.
(13) His people are Assured of Fruitfulness.
"I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit" (Jn. 15:16) -- fruit that would remain, abiding fruit. And the fruit is of such delight to the Father that He promises to answer every prayer that ascends to Him from His own who are abiding in the Vine.
(14) His people are Assured of the Enmity of the World.
Why should we not rejoice in this? If we, like our Master, are loving righteousness and hating iniquity? "Because ye are not of the world... therefore the world hateth you" (Jn. 15:19).
(15) The Holy Spirit will Witness of Christ
"The Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of Me" (Jn. 15:26). The Spirit of God is faithful to testify only of Christ. That is why He came into the earth. He came to take the place of Jesus, the faithful and true witness, who is now on the throne. And because the Spirit is faithful to testify only of Christ, God's servants in the earth who love Him will also faithfully "bear witness" to the truth (vs. 27).
(16) His Enthronement in Heaven--God's Best Plan.
"It is expedient (best) for you that I go away" (Jn. 16:7). There will be no interruption of the ministry of the Son simply because He has gone away, and His people in the earth may not always prove to be faithful. Nor is He coming back to earth to do something the Church has not been able to do. The Church will yet know--the world will yet recognize--that God's plan is the very best!
(17) The Holy Spirit has Taken the Place of Jesus in the earth.
"If I go not away the Comforter (the Advocate) will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you" (Jn. 16:7). When He came--He came to do and say and work as Jesus did when He was here: reproving the world "of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment" (vs. 8). Jesus was the Truth; and the Holy Spirit is now "the Spirit of Truth"--once again abiding in a body, a corporate body, in the earth.
(18) The Holy Spirit will Lead His People into All Truth.
"When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth" (Jn. 16:13). Jesus was the Truth here on earth. But there were many things His people could not yet receive. The Spirit of God coming to abide in His people would therefore continue the work that Jesus started--and lead them into still further revelation of truth. Some insist "We have the completed Bible now, with the New Testament added to the Old: so we need no further revelation." But those who say such things ignore the fact that the New Covenant itself must be ministered to the hearts of men by the same Spirit who caused the scribes to write it. It must be a "ministration of the Spirit" (2 Cor. 3:3-8). God's people, even though they have received the Spirit, must have a further enduement of "the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him", the "eyes" of their understanding "being enlightened"--if they are going to hear, and see, and know what God is saying--and experience and appropriate what God is doing (See Eph. 1:17, 18).
(19) The Holy Spirit will Speak Only what He Hears.
"He shall not speak of (from) Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak; and He will show you things to come" (Jn. 16:13). The Word from the throne will be accurately and precisely declared in the earth, because the Spirit is under obligation to speak only what He hears. And therefore His ministers in the earth will be under obligation to speak only what the Spirit is saying to the churches.
(20) The Spirit will Glorify the Son.
"He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of Mine, and shall shew it unto you" (Jn. 16:14). Taking from Christ and imparting that treasure to His people does not glorify God's ministers; it glorifies the Christ. The man who speaks "from Himself" is seeking His own glory (Jn. 7:18). But the man who speaks out from the heart of the Spirit is seeking the glory of Christ, and His only--because the Spirit speaks out from the bosom of the Son to glorify the Father.
(21) All the Treasures of Christ are Given to His People.
"He shall take of Mine, and shall shew it unto you" (Jn. 16:15). The "hidden wisdom". "The unsearchable riches of Christ". "The breadth, and length, and depth, and height" of His immeasurable treasures. "The love of Christ which passeth knowledge". "The depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God" --It is the ministry of the Holy Spirit abiding in His people in the earth, to bring forth all these riches from the heart of God and make them known to His people. And yet foolish man will insist:
We do not need the Holy Spirit now, because we have the Bible--ignorantly believing that they can understand the "depths of God" without the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit to take the things of Christ, and make them known to man.
Surely in all that we have said it is abundantly evident that in the coming of the Holy Spirit to abide in His Temple in the earth, God's people would in no way fall short of a clear, precise. accurate, and distinct revelation from God by reason of the weakness and frailty of the vessels in whom God's Spirit would dwell.
And surely it is evident that God's chosen vessels are in no way equal to Christ--in no way to be considered as other little Christs, other voices, or any such thing. It is only as they abide in Him that they are able to partake of this high and holy calling. Apart from Him--severed from Him as the branch is cut off from the vine--they are nothing, absolutely nothing. We cannot receive any office, or function in any capacity, as some one independent of Him, some one other than Him, some one apart from Him, in contrast to Him, as distinct from Him. Only He is that infallible Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, Teacher. Only He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Only He is the High Priest in the heavenly Sanctuary. Only He is the Anointed One. And we are only true priests, true apostles, true evangelists, true pastors, and true teachers--as we abide in Him and speak out from His anointing, out from His heart, out from abiding union with Him.
Any open-minded believer would have to admit that what we have said concerning the ministry of the Holy Spirit in His people is right and scriptural. But the nagging question is, Can it really happen? Are we able to come to this kind of relationship as long as we are here in this world?
And the answer is Yes! Because Jesus could have stayed here in the earth and continued to be that clear Voice of the Father--except that the Father had a better plan in mind! God said it was "expedient" that the Son be enthroned in the heavens! Better for us, and more glorifying to God! For He has absolute confidence that in going away He would be able to reproduce His kind in the earth, by virtue of His high-priestly ministry in the heavenly Sanctuary. And now let us consider in some detail the nature and character of the "more excellent ministry" of the exalted Christ.