From Leviticus 21, the character traits that disqualified a priest from the service of the holy things and from entering within the veil.
(Message given at the November 2006 Nebraska Conference)
[For a printable version click here.]
We are going to look at some things in the Word here today. I want to talk about what God is doing in “separations.” By the way, brethren, if you listen carefully to the word that is being brought this weekend, you are going to be hearing the same thing. You are going to be hearing themes. You are going to be hearing certain things repeated in different places. Different vessels in the Lord are going to be saying things, and somebody else is going to be coming along saying the same thing. We are going to have to have ears to hear and eyes to see what God is saying in this hour.
Now we understand that we are in a time of separation. How many of you believe that we are in a time of separation? God is separating things out. God is sifting things out. One of the first announcements that John the Baptist made about the coming of Christ was that the Lord was in a ministry of “separation.” He said that Christ’s winnowing fork (or shovel, or fan—however you want to term that) is in His hand and He is going to separate the wheat from the chaff. [Ref. Matthew 3:12] Jesus Himself at one point said it,
“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.” [Matthew 10:34]
Now I know that that comes in conflict with some people who think that Jesus is just peace, peace, peace. But no, He said, “I am bringing a sword”; and the sword that He is talking about is a knife; a very sharp knife that cuts through and separates one thing or part from another.
We are going to be talking today about “blemishes” that are going to be separating us out from the privilege of going into the most holy place. Before we do that, let’s look at some other principles here as to how God has established this principle of separation. One of the things that come to my mind is in 2 Samuel 3:1. We might just look at that and see what is going on here.
“Now there was long war between the house of Saul and the house of David: but David waxed stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker.”
You see there was a time that Saul had the upper hand. There was a time when that old kingdom was dominant. Saul was anointed to be the king, even though it was known that Saul was a poor choice. He was in reality man’s choice; and he had the upper hand. He hounded David and he chased him, and David had to flee before him and hide in caves and live almost like an animal.
But, you see, there is a fulness of time and there are seasons when things change. And there came a time when the maturity of David’s call began to be manifest; and David began to prosper and the house of David also began to prosper. So the house of David got stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul began to get weaker and weaker. There began to be a separation and I believe that this separation was something that was ordained of God. God was going to prosper the one and fail the other.
I think also of the parable of the ten virgins. I am not going to go here into the details of the 25th Chapter of Matthew, for you know the parable of the five wise and the five foolish virgins very well. Brethren, they were all “virgins.” They were all born-again Christians; and there was purity among this whole virgin church; they were a pure people. You can’t be a virgin without being pure. Yet there was something that was going to separate them that was not evident at first. There was something within their being that was going to be made manifest when certain events took place, that was going to prove who had the oil and who didn’t have the oil. I believe, brethren, that we have come to the time when the midnight cry is going out, “Behold the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.” [Matthew 25:6] We should be hearing that cry in this day and in this hour.
We do not know how long this cry has been going out, but some of you have heard me declare this more than ten years ago, saying that this cry is going out. We know it has been going forth for a sufficient period of time for certain ones to come to the realization that they weren’t going to make it. I believe, brethren, that as the difficulties of the earth get greater and greater, that we are coming to a time when some are going to look at others and say,
“You have oil. You are making it. You are getting through this and I am not. How do I get what you have? Give it to me!”
Perhaps there was a time when we would have thought that we could give it to somebody that was in need. You know, I am discovering more and more that I am not able to give what I thought I could give to someone else. I am discovering more and more that I can’t get people saved. I can’t get people to repent. The brother was talking a lot about repentance here yesterday, you know. And how Brother Cecil must have cried for the spirit of repentance to come to Nigeria, and we couldn’t make it come until the Spirit of God began to move and the LORD made it come. Brethren, I am so convinced that all the efforts of flesh that we have tried in the past—they are just waxing leaner and leaner. We are probably going to discover more and more, concerning the things that want to see accomplished, that if anything is going to be achieved it is going to be done by the Spirit of the Lord in response to our prayer.
You know that we cannot get our kids saved. We can talk to them. We can argue with them. We can persuade them, or try to tell them what they ought to do. But it isn’t working. It isn’t happening by persuasion and debate.
We see the circumstances rising up in their lives and we see the possibility of disaster; and we are saying, “My God, what are you doing?” But, you see, we are going to have to discover who has the oil and who doesn’t have the oil. This is going to be the thing that will make the difference concerning those who are going to enter in and those who will not.
“Enter into what?” you may ask. Enter into a place “in Christ.” You see I used the term “in Christ.” I believe that that is the thing we need to focus on. It is not just, “Jesus in me!” It is, “Am I in Christ?” That is the thing that is going to make the difference.
The wise virgins are going to enter into a place where they are going to manifest Christ in a manner where others around them are really going to see it. [See 2 Thessalonians 1:10] Perhaps it will be some of those who sat right next to us in the same meetings. They are going to see it and say, “Give me of your oil. My lamp is going out. The Spirit life in me—it is gone.”
What a sad situation! We read of it in Matthew 25. They came to the door and knocked, and they said, “Lord, Lord, open to us.” [Matthew 25:11] But His response to them in that time is, “I don’t know you.” [Matthew 25:12]
Now God knows everything. Do you understand? Insofar as knowledge goes, He knows everything. So obviously He has a different meaning in this phrase than just to say,
“I don’t know you.”
“I don’t know you in an intimate way.”
Once again, there is no one here who does not want to know the Lord in that intimate type of manner, is there? We are probably examining ourselves and saying, “So how do I get there?”
One will say, “I know what will help. I’ll read a great book about someone like John Wesley; or I will read about this other great saint. I will read about the brother that woke up at 4:00 o’clock in the morning every day and prayed for hours. Or another man, who gets up even earlier.”
We can try all of these things in the flesh, and find ourselves still unable to keep ourselves from falling asleep. Just like the disciples when they were in the garden with Jesus,
“Could ye not watch with me one hour?” [Matthew 26:40]
You know, sometimes I am thinking, “I don’t know, could I have stayed awake for even an hour at that time of the morning after being up all night? I probably would have failed too.”
It is these things of the flesh—they are just coming to nothing. I fear that this is where these separations are going to be manifest. We are going to have to rise up in Spirit and we are going to have to walk in Spirit if we are going to come to the place of being in Christ in these last days. We are going to have to be in a place where we can overcome the things that the sister read of this morning; and as she said, in a place where we can take this Gospel “to the earth.”
Did you understand what was meant there by the word “earth”? You didn’t see a picture of a globe when she said that, did you? The “carnal” (earth) realm is where this Gospel has to be preached, because it is going to have to change our carnality; our flesh; our humanity. Hallelujah!
So, you know, I am thinking that there is coming a time when “where we are” is “where we are going to be.” Do you know that? There is coming a time when the door is shut in whatever level we are; and for a season of time that is where you are going to remain.
Now let me look over in Revelation 22:11, and I want to show you this verse. It is one that sometimes has me troubled. Let’s start in Verse 10.
10 And he saith unto me (John), Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book for the time is at hand.
Now back in the Book of Daniel, the angel told Daniel to seal up some of the things that he had told him. [Daniel 9:24] He said that it was not for Daniel’s generation, but that it was going to be for another people. But when we come to John, hearing the word given in the very last chapter in the Book of Revelation, the angel says, “Don’t seal it up. Leave it to be understood for the end-time people.”
11 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.
Now it is kind of unusual here that he starts off with something negative. How many of you know that there is a difference between these different words that are used? There are two negative words and two positive words. There is a difference between unjust and filthy. I believe they are different degrees.
What is the meaning of the word “unjust”? It means to be “unfair!” It is when you are not making good judgments. You are unfair with people. You don’t deal properly with them. You might not be “filthy,” but you are just not a very righteous person. You cheat when you get a chance. You deceive people when you get an opportunity and you probably look for opportunities to do so. You have known people like that, haven’t you? You have done business with people like that, and you don’t like to do business with people like that.
But then, there is one more thing; and the Lord is saying that there is coming the time where if that is the way that you are, then that is the way you are going to be.
“He that is unjust, let him be unjust still…”
Then there is coming,
“and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still...”
What comes to your mind when you think of “filthy”? “Dirty!” Just plain dirty. I mean, there is nothing clean about this type of person at all. To me, that is worse than being unjust, isn’t it?
“he which is filthy, let him be filthy still.”
Another thing about filthiness is that we can have a righteousness called “self-righteousness that is really filthy. That is another kind, isn’t it. What good is self-righteousness?” What does the Bible say about that?
“All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags….” [Isaiah 64:6]
If you look up that term “filthy rags”, it is not a very pleasant thing to be talked about. It is not only filthy, but it stinks and everybody knows you are around.
We are not going to be any of these by the way. I wasn’t speaking about any of you; we are talking about somewhere and someone else.
Now he goes to the positive side, and he says (for those who are among God’s people, for those who are among the righteous),
“And he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.”
“He that is righteous” and “He that is holy”—is there a difference?
What does it mean to be “righteous”? Yes, at the least, it means “justified.” A righteous man stands for right things, doesn’t he? He stands for the truth and He believes it.
But a “holy” man, he doesn’t just “stand” for righteous things, does he? Yes, that’s right! (I heard somebody here say it.) He doesn’t just stand for righteousness, He lives it!
So now let me continue with the definition of “holy.” You can trace the word “holy” through most of the books of the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Scriptures refer to a man who is “holy” in probably the same way it refers to the things that are “holy” in the tabernacle. In the Bible, a thing that is “holy” is said to be “sanctified”; it is a thing that is “set aside.” It has only one purpose and that is for the functioning of the things of the kingdom of God.
Do you understand then that this thing called “holiness”—it goes a little beyond “righteousness,” doesn’t it? You can be a righteous man, but you may still have a lot of your “own” plans and you really are still mostly doing your own thing. You are doing what “you” want to do in the name of the kingdom of God.
How many of you know that there are a lot of people out there like that? They are doing their thing and hoping that God will somehow someday put His seal of approval on it and say, “Well, that was a good thing that you did.” But, you see, they have not come to the place where they are totally submitted to the Lord and to where they can truly say:
“Lord, I don’t have any other purpose except “Your” “kingdom. That is all that I am laboring for. I don’t have any goals of my own. I don’t have a name that I want to build up of my own—nothing like that! I want to be totally set aside. I want to be an instrument in Your hand. When You decide to pick up a hammer, or a battle axe, or whatever it is, that is what I want to be. If You want me for just a light paint brush, then that is what I want to be.”
You see, a paint brush doesn’t have a mind of its own. It moves when the master moves it. It doesn’t decide,
“Well, I would like to do blue now. Can we do blue for a while?”
“No, we are still doing white.”
You see, that is holiness. That paint brush is dedicated to the master’s hand and that is his only purpose.
The paint brush doesn’t say,
“Well, I think I will hire out to somebody else now for a while. We have some spare time, don’t we? Can I go hire out for somebody else now for a while?”
No, he doesn’t do that. He is “holy,” dedicated to only one master.
We are talking about separations, so now let’s get into Leviticus 21, and we are going to get into the word that we will be looking at today. I just said all this as an introduction. I am going to read some verses here in Leviticus 21, starting in Verse 16.
16 And the LORD spake to Moses, saying.
17 Speak unto Aaron, saying…
I find it kind of interesting, throughout the whole Book of Leviticus that the Lord is giving instruction to Aaron through Moses. Don’t you find that interesting? Moses was the vessel to hear the word from the Lord in this case, and to pass it on to the priesthood.
17 Speak unto Aaron, saying, Whosoever he be of thy seed in their generations that hath any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God.
So concerning the priesthood, there are going to be disqualifications. I believe you heard last night when our brother was speaking. He was talking about “anger.” He said that anger was going to be a disqualification of the sons of God. So now God has made a list here in Leviticus of things that are going to disqualify the priesthood. He tells what they are not qualified to do because of these disqualifications. He said in Verse 17 that anyone who has one of these blemishes, he may not approach to offer the bread of his God. Then he gives the list of the blemishes that disqualified a man from the priesthood.
18 For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish, he shall not approach: a blind man, or lame, or he that hath a flat nose, or any thing superfluous,
19 Of a man that is broken footed, or broken handed,
20 Or crookbackt, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye, or be scurvy, or scabbed, or hath his stones broken;
21 No man that hath a blemish of the seed of Aaron the priest shall come nigh to offer the offerings of the LORD made by fire: he hath a blemish; he shall not come nigh to offer the bread of his God.
22 He shall eat the bread of his God, both of the most holy, and the holy.
23 Only he shall not go in unto the vail, nor come nigh unto the altar, because he hath a blemish; that he profane not my sanctuaries: for I the LORD do sanctify them.
Now you will notice that this was a list of twelve blemishes, which I find to be interesting. Twelve seems to speak of “completion.” It speaks of “divine order in government.” He lists twelve (Not thirteen, not eleven—but twelve).
Now I am sure that there are other things that disqualify a person from entering in. For instance, anger was not listed here, but we know that it would disqualify you from entering in. But let’s look at God’s list of twelve here (because He decided to put twelve here in this list), and see what it means.
By the way, God does not have a problem with people that are physically handicapped. Okay? This list does not mean that handicapped people are going to be kept out of the kingdom of God. This is not at all what that means. We are going to have to get ourselves beyond the “natural” understanding and ask ourselves, “What is God saying ‘spiritually’ here?” God is not a discriminator of persons [Acts 10:34], but He set some standards here in Leviticus in order to give us a spiritual message.
I believe it would be helpful to provide a diagram of the tabernacle here where we could see these things that we are talking about here.
Now this is a picture of the tabernacle itself. Out here is the outer court. Okay? We know that out here is the brazen altar and the brazen laver.
And here is the holy place. In the holy place, there is the table of shewbread; and the lampstand; and the altar of incense. And we see the veil that is between the holy place and the holy of holies.
Now remember that it said that those priests who had these blemishes, they are not permitted at the golden altar of incense, and they are not permitted at the veil, or to enter into the most holy. But there are some duties of priesthood apparently that they can carry out. They are allowed to “eat” the bread, for example. Which means that they are allowed (if you want to say) the title of priest. But there are things that are involved in the ministry “unto the Lord” that they are excluded from. The ministry “unto the people” apparently was okay, but not ministry “unto the Lord.” It will be interesting when we get to Ezekiel, Chapter 44, where you can see this. We are going to find that God made the distinction there, that there were certain priests who could minister unto the Lord and there were certain ones that could not.
Leviticus 21:18 For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish, he shall not approach: a blind man, or…”
First of all, let’s talk about “blindness.” Blindness is the inability to see. And blindness (spiritually speaking) might be “the refusal to see.” Now I know that physically blind people don’t have a choice—if you can’t see, you can’t see. But spiritually blind people are sometimes spiritually blind because they refuse to see. How many times have you been speaking spiritual things to somebody and you get this type of response?
“I don’t know. I just don’t see it that way.”
“I can’t see the things that you are talking about.”
They are telling you a spiritual thing, that they are blind spiritually and that they are unable to comprehend the things that you are trying to talk to them about.
There is an interesting verse in Proverbs; turn over to Proverbs 29:18. It is a verse that you have heard many times.
“Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.”
Now this word “vision” is not just the ability to see with the natural eyes. What this verse means is that where there is no revelation (where there is no “spiritual” vision), the people are going to perish. You know, you can conduct church and carry on for years and years without a spiritual vision, without revelation. Just grinding old meal and serving old bread. Sometimes you can keep people that way, but you are probably keeping people with no vision.
There is another thing about vision, and it is in 2 Peter 1:12.
12 Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.
I believe that having “vision” gives us the ability to see what we call “present truth.” Is that an alien term to you: “present truth”?
“Well, Brother Mark, truth is truth! Truth has been truth one hundred years ago, and it is the same truth today!”
But, you know, there are truths that God is revealing today that were not revealed one hundred years ago. For instance, we could talk about the Law. The Law of Moses was great truth in the days of Moses. It was a revelation. It was things that people had never heard before. But by the time that Jesus came, the Law of Moses was no longer “present truth,” in that the Pharisees were blindly applying it in a harsh unforgiving manner such that they had no revelation of the mercy of God; and they were furthermore blinded by their own sins of the spirit, which were not addressed in the letter of the Law. Jesus said, “The blind leaders are leading the blind and you are all going to fall into the ditch, because you don’t know where you are going.” [Matthew 15:14]
So Peter spoke this word here:
“Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things…”
Peter is preaching the truth (the gospel truth) in his generation.
“though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.”
So Peter understood that there was a “present truth.” I believe that when the time of “the Latter Rain movement” came, that it was another movement of “present truth,” and that it came upon those who were willing to hear and see. I believe, brethren, that the word that has been given to us in this time that we live in is a “present truth” and that it is meant for the purpose of taking us through the very last of the end times.
But do you know that a lot of the churches are not getting an end-time word? There is no knowledge or regard as to making the kind of preparation sufficient to carry the people through:
“How are we going to make it through?”
“Well, don’t worry; you will fly away! That is all you need to know.”
I remember back in my youth hearing conversations about what is going to happen in the end-time. It seemed like everybody would always end their end-time discussion with,
“But we don’t need to worry about that—we won’t be here!”
But in the course of time, I began to think, “I wonder why God wasted all the time and space writing the book of Revelation, if the church doesn’t need to worry about it? Is He just appealing to some idle curiosity? He put a lot of time into that. John invested a lot of his life suffering to bring us that Word.”
“But we don’t need to worry about that….”
Brethren, I think we do need to worry about that! We need “present truth!” Hallelujah!
You know, those who get this kind of truth—how do they come by it? How did you come by the truth that you have acquired? With “violence”! Can I suggest that it is with“violence”that we take the kingdom? Amen. To see this, let’s read from Matthew 11, beginning with Verse 11.
11 Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
Do you understand this? If you are in the kingdom of heaven (and I hope that everybody here is), then you are greater than John the Baptist. Why? Why are you greater? It is because John the Baptist was still in the old order of prophets. It says here that he was the greatest of those born of women, meaning the old order church. He was the greatest; he had come as high as the old order could come. But those in Jesus (in Christ), the least of them are greater than that. Amen! Now lets read Verse 12.
12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.
When did this violence of this new truth begin? Jesus says here that John the Baptist introduced it; and He said that from that time on you are going to obtain the kingdom by violence. You are going to have to pay a price for it. It is going to cost you something. (Actually, it will cost you “everything”!)
In Matthew 25, this is the type of response given by the wise virgins to those who wanted some of the oil that they had:
“I got my oil by violence. I paid a price. You are going to have to do the same. It took me a long time to get to where I am. Now I am not saying that you can’t get started now and get there. For you, it probably won’t take as long as it did me, because the time is speeding up and getting shorter as we get closer and closer. Nevertheless, you are still going to have to pay approximately what I paid.”
“And what price is that?”
“It cost me everything! You see, I was just a little more stubborn. It took me longer to give up everything. I’m not sure I have yet, I hope I have. If I haven’t, the Lord has plans; He knows how to get me there.”
(My goodness, I hope it doesn’t cost now what it did four years ago!)
Well, let us go on. We were talking about blindness. I don’t want to be blind. By the way, we are going to find that blemishes concerning “sight” are mentioned twice here in this list of twelve. I am wondering why God didn’t say anything about “hearing” here in this list. It’s just a question that I have; if you have the answer, you can help me out.
18 or lame…
The Word here says that being “lame” was one of the disqualifications for entering in. It seems that “lameness” is also mentioned twice here in this list, in two different contexts. What is a “lame” person, spiritually? This blemish involves his “walk,” doesn’t it? If you are lame, your walk is hindered—isn’t it? By the way, I know that there are people who take some of these physical ailments and they try to use them as a basis to make a spiritual diagnosis out of it. If they see somebody limping a little bit, they say, “Oh, something is wrong with his spiritual walk.”
By the way, I have asked the Lord that too. I remember a time when I had a lot of pain in my hip and I was crying out to the Lord. I was saying, “Lord, is there something wrong with my walk?”
I believe that that kind of examination should be done on yourself, not on others. Don’t go to somebody else and suggest to them that they have blindness spiritually, or that their spiritual walk is bad, or their deeds are unjust—on the basis of the pain that they have in their body. They should be asking God that themselves.
By the way (and just for the record), when my hip was bothering me I do think that there was something wrong with my walk at that time. It goes back almost thirty years ago, but the Lord did miraculously heal me of it.
Another thing concerning “lameness” is that an “injured walk” is also when we are getting off of God’s path, isn’t it? When we get off of God’s path, what is going to happen? We are apt to fall into a pit, and that is not a good place to be.
There is a verse we should look at here. It’s Hebrews 12, and Verse 13. Do you know how God wants to deal with lameness? Let’s read it here, beginning with Verse 10.
10 For they (our natural fathers) verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure (it didn’t seem pleasurable to me at the time); but he (God) for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.
If it is needed, God will chasten us. God wants us to be holy. He wants us to be “partakers of his holiness.” Again, the song that stirred our brother here last night, it had the words that God is a “Holy” God, and that “He dwells in a high and holy place.”
Isaiah 57:15 For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit….
God wants us to be partakers of that holiness, and from this verse in Isaiah the way that we are going to be in that high and holy place is that we are going to be “contrite and humble.” “Humility” is God’s weapon against pride.
Somebody was talking here earlier about pride. Pride is a terrible thing. Do you know why pride is so terrible? It is because a proud man will not admit that he is proud. He will not admit that he is a sinner. This is why I think it is the worst of all the sins. Now a drunk, he is laying there in the gutter; he is filthy; drunk; out of his mind. You go to him and you say, “You are drunk,” and he will admit it: “Yes, I am drunk.”
I mean, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure it out. He can figure it out. He is drunk! He has lost his home. He has lost his job. I mean, he has lost everything! He has a problem and he knows it.
But a proud man, he can be a religious man. Do you know that you can move in pride and do it with a religious spirit? You can stand up and you can give an excellent word; and it is correct—perhaps truthful. Yet, you can do it in a spirit of pride and do it in a religious spirit. Did you know that? I think that sometimes it seems like God takes a lifetime to deal with our pride, doesn’t it.
Rita and I were talking the other day about how in Daniel, Chapter 4, God went after King Nebuchadnezzar’s pride. How would you like to have that kind of dealing to bring down your pride? It was prophesied to him in Daniel 4 what was going to happen and he still didn’t believe it. You know, it is amazing that Nebuchadnezzar didn’t kill Daniel over that prophecy. Instead he honored him. He said, “Great prophecy, Daniel!” But apparently he didn’t believe it.
Then one day the king was just walking in his palace and he was just thinking about his great empire and his great kingdom, and he said, “I did it all! Me! I did it all!”
POW! Right there, God hit him! Seven years! Living like a cow! [Daniel 4:33] Seven! Seven! I think just a day of that would have cured me. What kind of pride did this Nebuchadnezzar have?
Then I was thinking,
“You know, this ancient king might actually be in God’s kingdom.”
Nebuchadnezzar might be there. It says that he came to the place where he began to acknowledge the Lordship of our God. He said, “There is no God like the God of Daniel.” [Daniel 4:37]
Let’s go on here back in the New Testament.
11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievious: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
12 Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;
(Now we are getting to the lameness.)
13 And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way, but let it rather be healed.
In other words, God’s desire for these blemishes is that we be healed of them. Not just turned out; not just refused; but He has a plan for healing it. So there is hope! No matter what your blemish is, there is hope! God wants to heal it. Amen.
3. FLAT NOSE
18 or he that hath a flat nose…
Let’s go to the next one, the “flat nose.” Now He is worried about the shape of our nose. Pinocchio did not have a flat nose, but he wouldn’t have qualified because he was a liar. Now what does the nose speak of? “Discernment.” Yes, the nose is an instrument of discernment.
How many times have you heard someone say, “I don’t know, but I smell something funny around here.” You know? Spiritually speaking?
In the natural, it is not my best gift. Okay? I can put up with smelly things that sister cannot put up with. I have said to her many times, “You know, I wonder if you have a “spiritual nose” ministry, because you are picking up things with your nose all the time in the natural? Maybe we need to develop this spiritual nose ministry among the brethren.”
You know, I heard somebody talking about a situation that happened recently, of a church with 10,000 members, growing and prospering; and yet the pastor was living in sin. What is the problem among the people of this church? Somebody (or everybody) is blind! Somebody (or everybody) cannot smell! Do you follow what I am saying? Where is the discernment; and where has discernment gone?
By the way, you know that the condition of your sense of smell affects your sense of taste. Did you know that? If your nose is plugged up, you can’t taste much. You can taste sweet and sour and salt, and that is about all. It really affects your ability to taste specific flavors, when you have your nose plugged. There are some very interesting verses in Isaiah about discernment. Let’s go to the Scriptures.
I believe that some of the situations that we see happening in some of the churches today, it is the very thing that was happening in the days of the old prophets. It is happening again today. Brethren, the prophetic Word is for all generations. It is alive! It is active! It has power and life in it!
Isaiah 5:20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
What was the problem? What happened? It was a lack of discernment. They have come to the place where they don’t know any more what is good and what is not good. You see, the world is pressing this standard. It is pressing it on the people. It is pressing it on our children. The television programs are pressing this upon us. They say, “there is nothing wrong with Johnny having two daddies, or Jane having two mommies. It is just another alternate lifestyle.” You see, they are saying that what is evil is good and what is good is evil; and they say,
“Oh, they are just a bunch of bigots: those people that talk about God.”
They are talking about a people who really are good, but they are saying that they are evil. You see, the world is slowly buying this thing. This is the agenda of education, to take away all moral ability to make moral judgments. They are pressing it hard. This is why they are so against home schooling; it is because God’s values are being taught in home schooling. But do you know what? This experiment (trying to brainwash all the children) is not working, and they haven’t caught on yet that it is not working.
We had a case of vandalism recently against our building. I haven’t seen what they have done yet. I was down there working in the building Monday. I must have spent four or five hours there. I was trying to put a different electrical switch in, and there is ancient wiring in that building that just does not follow our normal standards. It took me an hour to figure out how to do this. Then I left the building and about an hour after I left it, I got home and I received a call from the neighbor next door to the building. She said, “Some kids came with clubs and beat your sign to pieces.”
She said, “Oh, but another neighbor (the neighborhood watch guy) caught them. Well, previously the guy had been a bit of a thorn in our flesh (this neighborhood watch guy) because, for example, he comes and examines how often you mow your lawn. He called the city one time because he didn’t think we mowed our lawn often enough. But I will probably be thankful for the guy. He called the police and he had the names and he knew who these kids were and everything.
So I called the police department and they said, “Oh, you have to call the youth department.” So I called the youth number. Sergeant Zampella answers the phone. I told him my name, and who I am representing and what I am calling about. But he said, “We don’t have the report yet.” And he said, “You know, I am interviewing a kid right now that beat his sister up with a table; and when the mother tried to restrain him, he tore the whole house apart.” I said, “Oh my! You have much worse problems than our broken sign.” He said, “Call me tomorrow.”
I called him the next day and the same sort of situation was going on in the police department. So I am thinking to myself, “What in the world is happening to the children of the world? They are going crazy.” I am thinking, “From a policeman’s point of view, they must think that everyone in the world is like this. They do this all the time.” No wonder police are cynical when you encounter them and you try to give them your excuse for whatever they were stopping you for.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah! I have heard all these stories before. Everybody is rotten. Everybody has a lie to tell me; and I don’t believe anything anymore!”
This experiment is not working. Okay?
Turn to Ezekiel 22, and it is the same thing there. It is the same thing, almost word for word. Let us begin with Verse 25,
25 There is a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the prey; they have devoured souls; they have taken the treasure and precious things; they have made her many widows in the midst thereof.
26 Her priests…
How many of you believe that God intends for us to be a nation of priests? Not a religious order, but a nation of priests. Priests are people who are intercessors before God. The church is the nation of priests. Malachi calls us “the sons of Levi,” and he says that God is purging the sons of Levi with fire. [Malachi 3:3] Why? To make them an acceptable offering before the Lord.
26 Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and the profane…
Do you know what the word “profane” means? It doesn’t mean just cursing and swearing. It means that they have made the holy things into “common,” “ordinary” things. In other words, “holiness” is gone. “Holiness” is not how high I can make my collar and how long my sleeves, and how black my clothes are. That is not holiness. Holiness is the dedication and sanctification that I have unto the Lord.
You know “sanctification” is an interesting word, isn’t it? I went for years and never really knew what that word meant. Long ago I went to Alaska, and I got in with the Nazarenes up there. They were good people and I loved them.
I noticed that every Sunday night the preacher would get up and say, “Who has a testimony tonight?” The older folks, who I looked up to as being the elders, they would get up and say,
“I am saved and sanctified; and I am glad that I am.”
I thought, “What? The ‘saved’ part and the ‘glad that I am’ part I can figure out, but what does this thing of being ‘sanctified’ mean?” I went for years, and nobody ever really defined what being sanctified meant. They just said, “Well, sanctification is the second work of grace. We are all sanctified.” I don’t think many of them really knew what it meant either. Today I know that being sanctified means that I have given myself over completely to holiness unto the Lord. It means that I have totally sold out to Him. That is my present time definition.
26 Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and the profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes (they have blindness here, too) from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.
Let me go back to “blindness” for a minute. Okay? I can think of two situations of blindness. First of all, let’s consider Eli the priest. If you go to 1 Samuel, Chapter 3, there is a discussion going on concerning the spiritual blindness that was going on in Israel in the days of Eli, and also Eli’s personal blindness.
1 Samuel 3:1 And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious (it was rare) in those days; there was no open vision.
These people were living without the word of the Lord. They were not hearing anything from the Lord. It says, “there was no open vision”—they didn’t even have a revelation at all.
The next verse (Verse 2) is very interesting. Verse 1 spoke of the lack of vision in the nation, and now in Verse 2 it speaks of Eli’s personal blindness.
2 And it came to pass at that time, when Eli was laid down in his place, and his eyes began to wax dim, that he could not see;
Now look and see that this could affect even the house of God. The next verse says:
3 And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was, and Samuel was laid down to sleep.
The danger was that even that lamp of the Lord was in danger of going out.
Another man with a blindness problem was Isaac.
Genesis 27:1 And it came to pass, that when Isaac was old, and his eyes were dim, so that he could not see…
Do you know what happened to Isaac in this chapter because of his blindness? He was deceived! He was spoofed. He gave the blessing to Jacob instead of Esau.
23 And he (Isaac) discerned him not (Jacob)… so he blessed him.
It turned out in God’s will, but nevertheless I think God could have shown him in some other way than by deception. Because of his natural blindness, Isaac was deceived. He felt, he smelled, he did all of the other things; but he couldn’t see and he was taken by a clever Jacob.
Turn now to Ezekiel 44, and beginning with Verse 10. These are the results of no discernment.
10 And the Levites that are gone away far from me when Israel went astray, which went astray away from me after their idols; they shall even bear their iniquity.
11 Yet they shall be ministers in my sanctuary, having charge at the gates of the house, and ministering to the house: they shall slay the burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall stand before them to minister unto them.
These are those who have been proven unfaithful.
12 Because they ministered unto them before their idols, and caused the house of Israel to fall into iniquity; therefore have I lifted up mine hand against them, saith the Lord GOD, and they shall bear their iniquity.
Now here is a result of spiritual blemishes. They went after idolatry. These were sons of Levi.
13 And they shall not come near unto me, to do the office of a priest unto me, nor to come near to any of my holy things, in the most holy place (they were locked out of holiness): but they shall bear their shame, and their abominations which they have committed.
They were going to be allowed to do earthy, natural, outer court oriented things. They could minister to the people; they could slay the burnt offering; but they couldn’t offer it before the Lord.
14 But I will make them keepers of the charge of the house, for all the service thereof, and for all that shall be done therein.
Now let’s look at Verse 15, and here is the contrast.
15 But the priests the Levites, the sons of Zadok, that kept the charge of my sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from me…
You see, the sons of Zadok were a different line than the line of Eli. Eli was from the line of Ithamar. Zadok was from the line of Eleazar and Phinehas. If you remember [see Numbers 25:1-13, Psalm 106:28-31], the Lord made an everlasting covenant of priesthood with Phinehas when Phinehas took the spear and he thrust it through those that were committing fornication in the plains of Moab. It was when Israel was in the business of repenting. They should have all been repenting, but some were ignoring it. (You can see in this passage in Numbers the importance to being sensitive to the spirit of repentance and getting in and getting onboard.) Because of their sin, a plague broke out among the people of Israel. But by what Phinehas did, the plague was stopped and God made an everlasting covenant with Phinehas; and now the sons of Zadok are from that line. Amen.
15 But the priests the Levites, the sons of Zadok, that kept the charge of my sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from me, they shall come near to me to minister unto me, and they shall stand before me to offer unto me the fat and the blood, saith the Lord GOD:
16 They shall enter into my sanctuary, and they shall come near to my table, to minister unto me, and they shall keep my charge.
So I want to be among the sons of Zadok, don’t you? Hallelujah! There was and is a difference.
4. ANY THING SUPERFLUOUS
18 or any thing superfluous,
I don’t have a whole lot of scripture on this. Do you know what something “superfluous” is? It is: “something that is extra; accessories.” In the natural, something “superfluous” would be things growing on your body that don’t belong there. Of course, if they are major superfluous things, we usually go to doctors to have them removed.
But what does this mean “spiritually”—to have anything “superfluous”? It’s when you have something growing where it doesn’t belong. And, well, it is something that is a monstrosity! It is a bad distortion. It is a disfigurement. It can typically be something that is badly out of balance or poorly proportioned.
Did you know that we need to be in balance in the things of God? I believe that the purpose of the Book of James is to put us in balance. It says there that, “faith without works is dead.” So in other words, if I just talk about faith and I don’t really have anything to back it up in my life, then I am out of balance. I have something “superfluous.”
My definition of something superfluous is, “majoring in minors and minoring in majors.” Something that should be really important, you are making light of it. You are saying,
“It doesn’t really matter. It doesn’t matter what we believe about that.”
But then, there are things that really don’t matter and yet you are making a big deal out of it. You are making it something that is superfluous. If anyone has some better revelation on what superfluous means, help me out.
Someone here has just mentioned, “tattoos and piercings.” Yes, those are things in the natural that fit the category of something that is “superfluous.”; and yes, they do give a picture of a spirit that is overwhelming the individual.
By the way, that sort of thing in the natural is addressed in the in the Word as well, in Leviticus where it says that the people of God were not to have any writing on their body.[See Leviticus 19:28]
5. BROKEN FOOTED
19 Or a man that is brokenfooted…
The next one is “broken footed.” This means a foot that is either broken or out of joint. You would say that someone with this sort of problem is going to be lame, but I believe that this spiritually is something that is more than just being lame. I think that Proverbs 25:19 really explains this thing about the foot.
“Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.”
What I see here, for example, is when somebody gives you their word that they are going to be at a certain place at a specific time. They are saying that they are going be reliable to do the job.
“Brother, I am behind you. Go for it. I am backing you up.”
But you get out there in the heat of battle and you look around, and, “Where is he?”
“Uh, well something came up and I couldn’t make it.”
“Well I slept in, I was overtired. I just couldn’t make it.”
“But you gave me your word. You said that you were going to be here to help me. I can’t do this alone.”
“Well, I am really sorry, but something more important came up.”
Are we going to put confidence in somebody like that? You know there are people like that. This is their lifestyle, and I believe that this is speaking of a type of spiritual lameness.
When I was working doing these furniture jobs, we would go down to the City Mission sometimes and hire people. I remember a situation where my thoughts were,
“This fellow was skilled, he could do the job. Why is this guy living down at the mission? I am going to give this fellow a real chance. I am going to get him and take him under my arm. He is going to get a good income going here and then he can branch out of that place, and you know, get another job. As soon as we get a big job coming in I’ll be trying to find the guy.”
Well, the time came and I called the mission; and I was told, “We don’t know where he is. We haven’t seen him for two days.”
“So where is he?” I get the phone number of some brother-in-law or something. He says, “I don’t know. I haven’t seen him either. He seems to be gone.”
I can’t trust the guy. I can’t rely upon him. He gives his word, but he won’t back his word. Now this is a character flaw. God is saying that with this kind of character flaw, you are not going near the veil.
You say, “Well, that kind of behavior is just childishness.”
Okay, then you need to grow up. You need to mature then or you are not going to enter in.
I want you to see how this unfaithful manner contrasts with how God regards His own Word? Let’s look in Psalms. Just read the verse here in Psalm 138 as to how God regards His Word.
Psalm 138:2 I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.
You know, God sticks with His name too, doesn’t He. There is something very reliable about the Lord. There is something very reliable about the Word of the Lord. We need to know who our God is. Maybe when He says, “I don’t know you,” it is because we don’t know Him.
How many of you know that God has given you a promise? Some of you have pleaded with the Lord about your children, and what did God say to you? Has He said anything to some of you? He has said some things personally to us. He said,
“I know how to save your children. You don’t know how, but I do and I will do it.”
That means that everything that it is possible for God to do, He is going to do it to keep His promise. Now there is one thing that He can’t do and that He won’t do. He will not force somebody into the kingdom of God. But, you know, when I examine the ways of God and the ways that He has dealt with me, I know that He is going to be able to do the job. He promised He would do it. He promised us that He would get us into the kingdom. He is going to do it. Do you want it?
Now you know the only thing that is going to change this is if you change your mind. People start praying to God, “Oh God, deliver me!” So God starts delivering you. He starts, you know, bringing circumstances of fire and other uncomfortable things into your life. There are spiritual tsunamis, volcanoes, earthquakes and things like that that come across your soul. You say, “Oh God, I can’t take it any more! Back off? Back off, will you?”
Or maybe it’s about your kids; that rebellious son of yours.
“Oh God, do whatever You have to do to save him.”
So God begins to do whatever He has to do to save him.
“Oh God, he is suffering so! Back off a little bit, will You?”
“Oh, God, did You have to get the police involved? Did he have to get arrested?”
So God is just watching. He tells His angels to back off. He tells them,
“I think our man has changed his mind. I don’t think he wants his son saved after all.”
Are we going to let God do what He said in His Word that He is going to do? Or are we going to try to put our hand to the ark and steady the ark and help God out? It isn’t going to work, is it?
Okay, that was “broken footed.”
19 Or a man that is … brokenhanded,
“Brokenhanded” is the inability to grasp and retain what God gives us. Spiritually speaking, we have to put our hand to it; and we have to put a grip on the thing. There is a verse in Hebrews that says this.
Hebrews 2:1 Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.
It gives me a picture in my mind of holding on to a rope. You see, there is always pressure on that rope; and who but the Devil is pulling on the other end of that rope? He wants to pull the thing out of our hands. He wants to pull the Word out of your hands, spiritually speaking, so that you have lost your grip on the things that will give you the faith to walk through what you have to walk through. If you start to loosen your grip on that thing, what is going to happen? You are going to slip and you have lost it. Even if you get your grip back, you have lost ground and you are going to have to take it back again.
So you are going to have to pull back, pull back, pull back! Because there is always resistance against us. If you go over to Titus 1:9, we can read it there:
“Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.”
“Holding fast” implies effort, doesn’t it? It does not speak of the life that you have in the hammock. It is activity! It is strenuous activity! It is “occupying”! Amen!
20 Or crookbackt…
“Crookbackt” means “hunchbacked.” So, spiritually speaking, the “Hunchback of Notre Dame” would not have qualified. It is a flaw in the backbone.
Do you know what the backbone represents? How many times have you heard somebody say, “Why do you think God gave you a backbone? Is it not so that you will stand up for what you believe?”
So this spinal flaw speaks of a lack in moral uprightness.
“Why are you not morally upright?”
“There is something crooked in this fellow. I don’t know what it is.”
The man is not straight; he is not upright, and there is a lack of purity. He will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Another thing that I believe it speaks of is “a welfare mentality.” A welfare mentality is where one is unable to “bear one’s own burden.” It’s where you are always expecting others to bear your burden; everyone else owes it to you. If you have a crooked back, you can’t bear a burden. What does it say in the word?
Galatians 6:5 For every man shall bear his own burden.
This flaw of having a crooked back also speaks of the inability to handle pressure or difficulty. If that is our problem, we need to be crying out to the Lord to be cured of this problem. It can be a picture of laziness.
Having a drug culture mentality can be an example of this sort of thing. Have you ever had dealings with the drug culture people? The “marijuana smoking,” LSD, “heroin shooting” (and now, “cocaine sniffing”) people? There is a wasteful, lazy, welfare type of mentality among them. They cannot bear their own burden. They are always broke. They are always wasting money. They get a big paycheck, and the drug dealer gets half or all of it; and then they are begging for bread. You will find that they have tallied up a collection of ten to fifteen unpaid traffic violation tickets with the police; they are losing their car; they are losing their home; their job; they are losing their spouse and their children—they are losing everything!
This kind of mentality will not qualify you as a priest. This is what God is saying. Okay? If you don’t like it, don’t be mad at me; I am just telling you what God is saying here.
8. A DWARF
20 or a dwarf…
What is a dwarf, spiritually speaking? It is someone who never grows up, or comes to spiritual maturity. Spiritually, there are some people my age; they can say that they have been Christians for forty-five years, but they are dwarfs—some so lacking in growth as to be spiritually bankrupt. It is an infantile mentality. Let’s go to 1 Corinthians 13, and Verse 10.
10 When that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
“Childhood” is “in part”, isn’t it? but “sonship” is “perfection.” Then the Word goes on:
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
There comes a time when we have to put away childish things. I see men that are forty and fifty years old buying big $30,000 toys to go stirring up mud out in the field somewhere. I see these big vehicles parked in their driveway. By the way, if you have a big vehicle, I am not against you. I don’t know what you have at home, but these great big things—you have to climb up a set of steps to get into them. Some of them have tractor tires on them. And you are going to commute to work in that thing? You are going to get eight miles to the gallon of gas on that thing? Is this something to take your family to church? “Oh, I go mudding on weekends in that thing.”
“but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”
I left that thing behind in the sandbox along with my imaginations and my childish thinking. Spiritually, there are people who are just like this, that cannot get over a childish level of interpretation of the Word of God. If you find yourself there, cry out to God! Say,
“My God help me! My God, I want to understand spiritual things on an adult level.”
You know, you may have to press in a little bit. Growing up may be difficult, but God expects it. God has nothing against children. Children are necessary. The outer court is meant for children, but the purpose of God is for us to come higher up and further in. The ultimate goal, brethren, is there in the holy of holies: the mercy seat being that goal.
In Ephesians 4, there are verses that you know so well. Time and time and time again we are hearing them. Let’s start with Verse 12. It follows Verse 11, which spoke of what God has given to the church,
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.
13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.
Does that sound like childhood? No, it doesn’t.
14 That we henceforth be no more children, (Here is the thing that happens to children) tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine…
Being tossed to and fro, and being carried about with every wind of doctrine—this is a mark of spiritual childhood. A new wave of doctrine comes blowing in and,
“Oh, let’s go that way!”
“Oh, let’s go to Toronto!”
“Oh, let’s go to that place in Florida!”
“Oh, it is going on in Texas!”
“No, it is in Colorado!”
To and fro! Tossed this way and that way!
“Oh, this guy has just put out a new book! Oh, it is the hottest thing!”
“Tossed to and fro”byevery fashion of religion that is the hottest and newest thing.
“I want to be in on it!”
By the way, there are pastors that are like that. They will go to a great extent to learn what this new guy is all about. “I want to get in on that. I want to have 10,000 people too, just like he does.”
14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
You know, if you want to deceive somebody, you can deceive children pretty easily. That is how perverts get them—they deceive them. Childhood!
By the way, there is something here about God that we need to see. Why does He want us mature? You know, I don’t think that God can really share His heart with a child. There are deep things of God that I believe He must surely desire to share with some of us. [Ref 1 Corinthians 2: 9-10] I think He is waiting to share His purposes of the universe with “mature sons.” If He starts talking to a child, the child walks away and wants to play with his toy. He can’t comprehend what it is all about.
Did any of you ever hear about a man named Davern Fromke? Did any of you ever meet him or have you read some of the books that he wrote? Back in the fifties he wrote a book, it was a children’s book called A Hive Of Busy Bees. I had the privilege one time of meeting that man. He came up to a place on Lake George where the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship was sponsoring him. This was about one year after I had been baptized in the Holy Spirit. I was going to these meetings; I wanted to know what was going on.
This man was one of the speakers. I was so blessed by him; he had such a meek and humble spirit. He was so full of wisdom. He was an old man (as old as I am now); he had white hair. I was about 33 or something at the time; and I was sitting there, thinking: “Oh, what a wise and wonderful man he is.”
I will never forget the one statement that he made. Apparently he had a son too that he was concerned about. He said, “I go to the Lord and I say, ‘Lord when is my son going to come to some maturity so that he and I can sit down and talk about the deep things of God? When is my son going to come to this?’ ” Then he added, “Do you know what the Lord’s answer to me was? The Lord answered me and He said, ‘Son, but I am wondering, when are you going to come to where I can really share My heart with you?’ ”
I will never forget that, or the man. That was the most amazing thing that I had heard all that week. I don’t remember anything else I heard, except this: “Son, when are you going to come along…?” I keep thinking of this as I deal with the Lord. I wonder if the Lord is sitting there thinking of me, “Son, I keep wondering, when are you going to get mature so that I can share My heart with you?”
Don’t we beg the Lord:
“Lord, share your heart with me!”
“Oh God, I would like to know what You believe about this!”
“Oh God, I would like to know what You see.”
Maybe He is waiting for me to mature before He answers some of my questions. Otherwise I probably couldn’t stand it.
“Lord, why don’t You share with me like You do with some of the older brethren? You know, like with Brother Cecil and Brother Tom. How can they can hear things that I can’t hear?”
Maybe the Lord is saying, “Son, I keep wanting you to mature so that I can share some of these things with you.”
9. A BLEMISH IN THE EYE
20 or that hath a blemish in his eye…
This “blemish in the eye” is not when one is blind. No, it is not blindness, it is just a blemish. What is it? What does it mean? I believe that spiritually it speaks of “hypocrisy.” Can I prove it? Yes.
1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
What does this word do for our desire to criticize others; knowing that the same ladle that you measure for others (the same way that you are talking about the other fellow), it is the way that it is going to be measured back to you? I tell you, if you live long enough you are going to see it. Live long enough, just wait a little bit, and the people in the church that excoriate other people for what they perceive to be their faults, you are going to see them end up falling in the same thing. And they probably were unjust in their criticism of the other fellow to begin with.
3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye.
Do you know what a beam is? It is a plank; a great big piece of wood, bigger than you are.
“Well, then how could it get in my eye?”
That is not the point; it is a parable.
4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote (a mote is a little tiny thing) out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
5 Thou hypocrite…
See, that is the word; that is what a blemish in the eye is. It’s “hypocrisy!” It is everything that we are talking about. Hypocrisy is going to keep you from crossing that veil. In fact, back in Leviticus, in Verse 23, the Lord says,
“He shall not go in unto the vail, nor come nigh unto the altar, because he hath a blemish; that he profane not my sanctuaries: for I the LORD do sanctify them.” [Leviticus 21:23]
Now we know that the last piece of furnishing that the priest encounters before he crosses into the holy of holies and comes before the mercy seat of God, is the golden altar. The Word, here in this verse in Leviticus is saying,
“Don’t even go near the golden altar. Don’t even go near the veil. You can hang around where the shewbread is. You can feast; you can sit with the others; you can hear the Word. But the Word is not changing you; therefore when it comes time to go through, you will not go through.”
Brethren, this blemish speaks of having a critical spirit. I believe this is a critical, judgmental, cynical attitude.
Suppose I was to ask how many of you believe that at one time in your life that you had this. Yes, I would raise my hand. And do you know something, I really believe that this is one of the things that the Lord was dealing with me about when I had the heart attack. That is taking a pretty severe measure to deal with that kind of thing, isn’t it? How many of you know that the Lord really wants you to qualify to go in?
Some time ago we brought this same word about these blemishes in our local fellowship meeting. The next day I was talking to a sister. She said, “Brother Mark, I went over my notes from your message and I got down before the Lord and I got delivered of a critical spirit.”
I never knew she had a critical spirit. She seemed so pleasant and everything to me. She said, “I had a critical spirit. I got down before the Lord and I repented.” That was after she left the meeting and she went home and repented.
20 or be scurvy…
“Scurvy.” Now you go look up this word “scurvy” in the concordance and you will probably find that it is not the same definition that I am going to give here. I don’t know what the Old Testament definition of this word really is. They gave descriptions and conditions of the skin, and I don’t know what it really means. So I am going to take the English word “scurvy,” because I think there is a good application for it here.
Do you know what scurvy is? The nurses are nodding their heads and saying, “Yes, we know what it is.” It is a malnutrition problem. It shows up especially in little children about the age of one if they don’t have any Vitamin C in their diet. If it goes on as a problem, it affects your skin; your gums start bleeding; your teeth start coming loose. It is a problem caused by your not getting proper nourishment.
I will give you a little history about scurvy. Many years ago, the British sailors were taking limes on the ship and eating the limes when they were out for months and months on the sea. They discovered that the British sailors didn’t get scurvy (whereas other sailors were getting scurvy). The British sailors didn’t get scurvy because they sucked on these limes. So they were given the nickname “Limeys.”
Well, we need to be “Limeys” in the Lord, brethren. Scurvy speaks of our diet, and it is a disease that develops when you have a bad diet, a bad spiritual diet.
What are we feeding on? I believe that if you feed on the world’s things, you are going to be malnourished. Spend your evenings feeding on the world’s television programs, listening to the world’s music, reading their literature, hanging around in their dens of companionship, and camaraderie with them in your spare time with no other purpose than just to pass time. Do these things and you will be malnourished and you will have spiritual scurvy! And do you know what else? You will have no more appetite for the things of God. Your appetite will have changed. You have been living on spiritual junk food for so long that you won’t want the real steak and the real vegetables. Matthew 5:6, here has the cure.
“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”
“Righteousness.” Yes, an appetite for righteousness is important. “Blessed are they that have an appetite for spiritual things”; and in order to get that kind of appetite, it may require a little fasting. You have to fast from that other stuff; and then when you start eating the good stuff, it will taste very good.
20 or scabbed…
“Scabbed.” I don’t have much scripture on this, but I can tell you what I believe it is. You know what a scab is. You know that it is the result of once having had an open wound. A scab isn’t quite healed yet, is it? What happens when somebody comes and rubs your scab? It hurts, doesn’t it? So to be scabbed means to be: “Touchy; oversensitive; easily offended; easily hurt; overreacting; apt to carry resentment; apt to harbor offense; easily rubbed the wrong way.”
How many of you know that the churches are full of people like that?
“Be careful with Brother So and So!”
“Oh, don’t say that to Sister So and So. She’ll take offense over that. She will get mad. She won’t come around for another three months. She will mope and cry and wait for someone to call her saying, ‘Oh, I am so sorry.’ ”
By the way, God intends that our wounds be healed. Yes, I do think there is a scripture for this. In Luke 10 there is the story of the man who was wounded, and of the Good Samaritan who cared for him and had the cure for him. Let the shepherd pour in the oil and the wine. I believe that the shepherd ministry should help these kinds of people; but not cater to it by supporting or enabling it, but give it the real kind of help. Give it the real wine; give it the real oil. Amen.
12. BROKEN STONES
20 or hath his stones broken
You know what this means in the man. It speaks of the reproductive part. It means that one has become “unfruitful; unable to reproduce.” I think it speaks of the lack of the fruit of the Spirit, or certainly a lack of abundance of the fruit of the Spirit. By the way, bearing fruit for the Lord is not a list of how many people you witnessed to. That is not the kind of fruit that we are talking about. The fruit is the kingdom of God that is within me. So the fruit of the kingdom is the “life” of the kingdom. “The likeness of Christ” that is coming forth from me is the fruit of the kingdom.
Now how do I bear that fruit? I do think we have some scripture.
1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
4 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.
5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
You go through John 15 here and you find progression of fruit:
First it says that you bear fruit. Either you do or you don’t. Okay? If you don’t, then you get pruned. If you do, you also get pruned.
Why do you get pruned? You get pruned so that you will bear more fruit. Is the Lord satisfied with more fruit? No. He wants much fruit.
Is He satisfied with much fruit? No, He wants fruit that will remain.
You know, if you have a big pile of fruit and it doesn’t last, if it doesn’t keep—then what good is it? The Lord wants consistency in our fruit; not a flash in the pan, but consistency. Amen!
Now I think we have gone long enough. But consider, brethren, that this is from Leviticus. Rita and I were reading Leviticus a couple of weeks ago. We were going through it a chapter at a time. I said, “I can see why this is not everybody’s favorite book.” You know, it is a difficult book. It goes on and on, repeating thus and thus and thus. But I said, “There has to be some treasures here in Leviticus that apply to us today.”
You know everything that Brother Cecil has taught us about the tabernacle, well this has to do with the tabernacle. These verses are not just about the measurements of the tabernacle (and how many boards there are, and whether it is made of gold or brass). But they are about the people who will serve in this tabernacle; and the requirements concerning them that are listed here, they speak to the church of today. They speak to the house of God and to the sons of God. What I read here in this message is that God is making a distinction between those that will be sons of God and those who will not.
You can say, “Well, I believe that I will get to heaven.” But are you going to come into the “fullness”? Will you come into all that you can have in God and all that God can have in you? That is the message, brethren. This is a different one than the message of just barely making it into heaven by the skin of your teeth. To me, this is the message of the kingdom.
God bless you.
(The following is a summarized list of the twelve blemishes:)
Twelve Blemishes That Disqualify A Priest From Coming Within The Veil
(From Leviticus 21:17-20)
1. Blindness – Lack of vision, unwillingness to see new light.
(2 Peter 1:12) “be established in the present truth”
(Matthew 11:12) New truth given to those who seek it violently.
2. Lameness – An injured walk, from getting off God’s path and falling in the pit.
(Hebrews 12:13) Lameness can be healed.
3. Flat Nose – The nose is an instrument (or member) of discernment. Your sense of smell affects your ability to taste.
(Isaiah 5:20, Ezekiel 22:26, 44:23) Results of no discernment.
4. Anything Superfluous – A monstrosity, a bad distortion or disfigurement.
Bad balance, poorly proportioned. Majoring in minors and visa versa.
5. Broken Footed – Foot broken, or out of joint.
(Proverbs 25:19) Unreliable, untrustworthy. The need to back up your word.
(Psalm 138:2) God backs His Word above His name.
6. Broken Handed – Unable to grasp and retain what God gives us.
(Hebrews 2:1) Don’t let the exhortations slip.
(Titus 1:9) Hold fast the faithful word.
7. Crookbacked (Hunchbacked) – A flaw in the backbone. Speaks of a lack in moral uprightness; impurity…will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Also “welfare mentality”; unable to bear one’s burden (Galatians 6:5). Unable to handle pressure or difficulty. Laziness, drug culture mentality.
8. Dwarf – One who never grows up or comes to spiritual maturity (sonship).
Infantile mentality (1 Corinthians 13:11) “When I was a child…”
(Ephesians 4:14-15) “That we henceforth be no more children…but grow up into Him…” God cannot share His heart concerning mature things to an infant or child.
9. Blemish in the Eye – Hypocrisy (Matthew 7:1-5)
A Critical, judgmental, cynical attitude.
10. Scurvy – Caused by malnutrition, bad diet. From feeding on the things of the world (worldly television, music, literature, companionship), so that there is no more appetite for the things of God.
(Matthew 5:6) “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness. They shall be filled” – May require fasting.
11. Scabbed – Touchy, oversensitive, easily offended, easily hurt. Overreacting. Apt to carry resentment and harbor offense. Easily rubbed the wrong way.
Wounds need healing – Let the Shepherd pour in the oil and wine.
12. Broken Stones – Unfruitful, unable to reproduce. Fruit of the Spirit not abundant.
(John 15:1-11) Abide in the vine (Christ) and you will be fruitful.