Updated: May 17, 2019
DEEP UNTO DEEP
By Peter McArthur
According to traditional Jewish understanding, the Sabbath does not conclude until three bright stars are seen at the beginning of nightfall (the Jewish and therefore Biblical day begins at sunset, not twelve midnight). In times past those heralding stars had to be seen from the precincts of the Temple. Not until they were seen at dusk from the vantage point of Jerusalem was the Sabbath deemed to have ended.
This sets a principle for us, which is: in Scriptural prophecy, all celestial and eternal events are to be viewed from the perspective of natural Jerusalem. The red blood moon, a falling star, a comet, or the Sabbath stars, etc., must first be seen from the perspective of the natural city of Jerusalem in the natural land of Israel. If the celestial event is seen from any other vantage point, but not seen from Jerusalem, it is regarded as not warranting undue attention. In other words, all prophecy involving celestial signs can only be regarded as valid if they can be seen from natural Jerusalem.
We can now extend this principle further: so too all spiritual issues are to be discerned and judged from the perspective of Spiritual Jerusalem. Another way of saying this is that issues must be seen from the Heavenly viewpoint and not from the earthly, worldly or even religious one. This is vital to understand if we are to fathom the grand panorama of God’s eternal purposes. We must seek to view things from a heavenly frame of reference, not a worldly one, a religious, or even a Christian one. Heaven is always the reference point in Scripture.
In fact the Bible begins with this perspective very much in mind: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth… (Gen 1:1) It is the heavenly realm that comes first in God’s agenda of the created order, not earth, or even light! We can take this one step back and find an even earlier reference point : God Himself! In the beginning GOD (Gen 1:1) and, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1).
This establishes the fact that God is the source, the beginning of everything. He is the author of all things, all promises, all destinies, all designs. Everything emanates from Him and everything returns back to Him. He is the one supreme focus of absolutely everything.
Another way of stating this is that, pertaining to humanity, we are seeded from the Father. The seed was placed within the first Man, Adam. Out of him came the first Woman (ishshah lit. = bride). Adam named his bride Eve (lit. = life, living) because she was the mother of all living. Their first child was seeded from them both, but was not born in the Garden of Eden but outside of it, after sin had erupted. Earthly things had displaced heavenly things.
Surely it was God’s intention that the seed of Adam and Eve should be born in the Garden, not outside it. An earthly focus (giving way to the serpent's words) had supplanted the heavenly focus (heeding God’s words).
How often it is that heaven's agenda has been delayed (but never supplanted) by the earthly. It takes men and women of revealed insight to keep on the right path; people of heavenly vision who will not give way to the earthly, even religious, vision. Joshua and Caleb were two who had the correct heaven-sent vision. The other ten spies were taken in by the earthly issue; fear of the giants in the land, etc. What should have been a relatively quick entry into grander things (the Promised Land) became a staggering hard learning curve of forty years! And even then many failed to understand and fully enter in. In fact two tribes chose to remain on the other side, close to entering in, but encamped on the eastern side of the River Jordan. Close, but not fully in. Remember, Judas heard all of Christ’s sermons. Close but not there!
Believing the right teaching, being part of a Holy Spirit inspired move of God, sitting with anointed brethren and sharing, making choices of coming out of Babylon, pursuing Biblical truth and excellence, associating with those of the worthy household – all these are right choices but if the initial vision is not in accord with God’s pre-determined plan, we will come close, but never fully arrive. When we come face to face with entering-in we will most likely choose to stay just over the river – watching from a distance, perhaps even associating with the right brethren, but not quite there.
Therefore it’s vital to have a clear understanding of God’s grand purpose, to have a heavenly vision, a supernatural focus. We are to make sure we nurture what God has revealed to us, treating it as precious treasure (which may sometimes cause us to act strangely) and not cast it before swine.
In the end there is only one right way; there are no detours acceptable, no diversions suitable, no options to be added. He has ordained one way and one way only for us to arrive at His predestined place. That vision He gives to one person, or a small group of people, and chooses to work through them. Is that exclusivity on God’s part? No. He understands only too well that crowds make compromising choices, that groups will debate and reconsider, that entities will sway one's mind. So initially He chooses one or only a few, to reveal His plans to.
Moses was the only one of his generation to whom the Lord revealed His grand plan of deliverance. God then had that shared with others, but Moses was the spokesman, he was God's voice. The Lord expected the people to listen to His spokesman. He intended that they should listen to the vision Moses handed to them from Him. They had to believe that Moses knew the vision. They had to accept he heard from heaven. When their mumbling and grumbling caused them to disbelieve, they lost confidence in the spokesman. They resisted what he spoke. They no longer accepted he had the correct path clear in his mind. Heavenly purposes were soon displaced by earthly considerations and short-term conveniences.
All seemingly valid, all seemed to have good considerations, after all there are women and children stuck out here in the desert. We can almost imagine what they had to say to their leader. “Think of them, Moses. We can't let the elderly who’ve been used to the houses, food, climate and the support of city life cope with this desert wandering any more. Have some compassion Moses! Aren’t you a man of God? And by the way, are you really sure you had a spiritual experience up there on the mountain? We think you’re a good enough leader but are you certain it was God who spoke to you and not your own imaginings? Let’s reconsider before it’s too late.”
Such is the talk of discouragement, of disbelief, of disobedience, and eventually, of disaster. But Moses would not budge. Heaven had spoken. I have talked with you from heaven said the Lord (Exo. 20: 22). Moses was enraptured by all its power and forcefulness. His very mind was overtaken by heaven's ways, heaven's voice, heaven's plans.
For forty days and nights he was enveloped in the pure atmosphere of heaven with the Lord. For forty days and nights his mind was increasingly adjusted and altered, his vision re-directed and his thoughts re-aligned to heaven. It permeated his mind and soul, even his very bones. So much so that he was somewhat transfigured and his face actually beamed with Shekinah light as he came down from that mountain.
No wonder the Father sent Moses to Jesus at His transfiguration (Matt 17:3). You see, it does matter what heaven says. To substitute any part of the plan, to redirect even one small measure of the vision, to make the focus a little more realistic, acceptable or balanced will always cause the disintegration of the purity of heaven’s ways. It certainly does matter a very great deal that we stick to the revealed plan, the predestined purpose, the heaven-sent vision, and never, never substitute any other way for it. Ever!
It did matter a lot how Noah built the ark; it did matter a lot that Moses made certain the Tabernacle tent was constructed after heaven’s own plan; it did matter that David instructed Solomon to stick to the plans received from heaven for the Temple. It did matter how Joshua captured Jericho, for no other plan to take the city would have succeeded. And of course it did matter absolutely that Jesus only did what heaven showed Him to do and spoke what heaven spoke.
The pattern of heaven does matter entirely. It’s the only trustworthy pattern, the only complete and competent design. Father does know best! Throughout history (His-story) all who have adhered to heaven’s voice have seen the result.
You could asked Abraham about that, you could ask Moses, David, Josiah, Paul or any other of the great heavenly-orientated saints and they will tell you the same thing. Human considerations and balanced viewpoints and realistic agendas just do not fit in with the plans of heaven. It's as stark and mind-affronting as that.
Why? Because heaven has a life all of its own. All things are seeded from heaven; all things are born from that realm. And the greatest and most astonishing act of God working in man is being born again from above.
Usually we omit those last two words and just say we’re born again. But the phrase literally means we are born again from above, or from the top (Strongs G509). We are born from heaven!
This is extremely important both to grasp and to proclaim. It's from above that we are conceived. It's from the Father that we are seeded with an eternal life-seed.
…having been born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible seed, through the living Word of God, and abiding forever. (1 Pet 1:23)
Earthly-realm views cannot comprehend this. Religion says it accepts this doctrine, but it certainly neither teaches it fully, or in fact really believes in it. So brother persecutes brother; the earth-bound ones persecute the heavenly-dreamers (Gen. 37: 18-20).
The One having come from above is above all. The one being of the earth is earthy, and speaks of the earth. The One coming out of Heaven is above all. (John 3:31)
"And He said to them, You are from below; I am from above. You are from this world; I am not from this world." (John 8:23)
The worldly and religious ones would not accept the Heaven-Man Jesus, God coming and abiding in the flesh; today they still will not accept those in whom God and heaven abide. The earthly realm always wants its own way and always seeks its own recognition. When heaven proclaims another way of doing things, the earthly realm will shout foul. When heaven puts us through a particular spiritual experience (although we rarely see the experience as spiritually beneficial at the time!), the fleshy realm in us protests loudly.
Why? Because the heavenly realm has only one way of dealing with the earthly. It must subjugate it by attacking all its priorities, which are self-importance, self-recognition, self-service, self-aggrandisement, self-pride, self-pity, self-sufficiency, self-belief, and self-serving vision.
Heaven does the exact opposite of what earth-realm people think is important. There is a clash because heavenly-desired things cannot be accomplished by a mixture with the earthly. Heaven confronts and re-moulds us so that we conform to its vision, to the great Purpose of the Lord.
This may take some time. In the case of the Israelites it took forty years wandering (although it was certainly not an aimless wandering; God was the director), and the death of one entire generation. In the case of David it took some fifteen years until Saul was removed from the throne. Each time there was a period of learning heaven’s ways.
Not using earthly principles to deal with the issue, but allowing heavenly concepts to take root before the fullness of time arrived bringing in the necessary change. Heaven was the Governor, not earth! Those who are wise will always look to heaven for their orders.
It’s a very wise person indeed who will take the necessary time to learn heaven’s ways. And it takes a very courageous person to live habitually subjugated to God while He prunes back the wild branches and re-shapes us to conform to His desired image.
There is no other way – this is it and this is how it will be! Bend to it or be broken by it. In the end we need to remember that heaven has the superiority in all things. The sooner we learn to live from the heavenly realm and see the heavenly perspective, the better off we shall be in spirit, soul and body – and even socially.
Let us remember that the heavenly perspective of our sojourning on earth is this: God has taken us out, to lead us through, in order to bring us into.
May the Father of this grand purpose always be our vision, and Jesus His great Son be our example. Lord do these things in our lives we pray!
The Issachar Ministry