DIVINE EXPANSION (by permission; chp 2 from Ray Prinzings Book - Whispers of His Call)
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father; The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever: The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this." [Isaiah 9:6 -7].
"Holding the Head, from which all the body by joints
and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with
THE INCREASE OF GOD." [Colossians 2:19].
The general understanding of the call to Christianity, to serve the Lord, believing into Him as our Saviour, usually centers in the thought of what this will mean to us, of our gain, our blessing, etc. Spiritual realities are lowered to the concept of material prosperity, health, and the pursuit of one's own happiness. But there is a far different perspective being revealed by the Spirit to those who would progress beyond the surface, beyond the natural, and it concerns the INCREASE OF GOD. It speaks of our ministering unto the Lord, for HIS benefit, for His praise and glory. Even as we read in Revelation 4:11, "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power; for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created."
It does appear that we are far more familiar with the natural, and the negative, as when David said, "Lord, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me. Many which say of my soul, there is no help for him in God," [Psalm 3:1-2].
This expression came from David while he was fleeing from his own son, Absalom, when this rebellious son sought to take the kingdom away from his father. The record states, "And the conspiracy was strong; for the people were increased with Absalom." [2 Samuel 15:12]. So likewise there are times, when it appears that the adversaries certainly are increased against those who would stand for righteousness and justice in the land. But we dare not give ourselves over to a negative attitude, but follow on with David's example, when next he declares, "But Thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head." [Psalm 3:3].
It may be that betimes we do see a tremendous array of circumstances that are INCREASED AGAINST US, but it is then that we need to maintain our eye "single," [Luke 11:34] unto God, knowing that GOD IS OUR SHIELD, and therefore nothing can happen to us outside of God's will. What He allows to touch us, He has purposed to use in our processing, and ultimately work into our good, and for His praise.
To see God's sovereign control over all, brings a real stability to undergird our call as we seek to follow the Lord. Again we find example in David's life. For it was while he was in flight from his son Absalom, taking the low road, that "Shimei went along on the hill's side over against him, and cursed as he went, and threw stones at him, and cast dust." So the men that were with David asked for permission to go and put an end to this persecution. But David replied, "Let him alone, and let him curse; for the Lord hath bidden him. It may be that the Lord will look on mine affliction, and that the Lord will requite me good for his cursing this day." [2 Samuel 16:11-13].
Furthermore, not only is God our shield, but He also is the "lifter up of mine head." For sure, we need the Spirit to elevate our attitudes out of the realm of negativity, into the positiveness of His life. Only God can lift up our heads to see above the situation, imparting HEAVEN'S VIEW, to free us from our earth-bound mentality, to see in Him the overcomer's way.
Certainly there is that area in which we "encourage ourselves in the Lord our God." [1 Samuel 30:6]. This, David also had often done. But there comes that point when no do-it-your-self will work. It takes a sovereign ACT OF GOD to lift up our hearts and minds into the higher dimensions, to see in Him that victory which only He can impart. So then, "I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and He heard me out of His holy hill." [Psalm 3:4].
I cried-- He heard-- and then the results rightly follow, with mine head lifted up, I cease to worry and fret, therefore, "I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the Lord sustained me. I will not be afraid of ten thousand of people, that have set themselves against me round about. (Because) Salvation belongeth unto the Lord: Thy blessing is upon Thy people." [Psalm 3:5-6, 8]. Negative increases against us are not the issue, for we are called unto the INCREASE OF GOD, and all salvation and blessing are HIS, which He will freely share with us as we become one in Him.
But briefly note another negative increase. "And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." [Matthew 24:12-13].
Wax cold. The Greek word is "psucho," from the verb "to breathe," by implication it speaks of reduction of temperature by evaporation. A slow draining away of one's deep love for God is taking place in many today because iniquity abounds, is increasing. They see the evil, hear all the talk of evil, it is so prevalent everywhere, until people are ready to accept it as the normal way, an accepted lifestyle. Finally holiness is forgotten! There is no fear of God before their eyes! Negative increases will surely cause one to WAX COLD, drain away, evaporate our love for God, unless HE becomes our SHIELD, and LIFTS OUR HEAD, and enables us to endure unto the end, when His kingdom is brought forth in righteousness.
Set over against the increase of the negatives in this world, we are faced with the truth of there being but a remnant, those who are apprehended to become His first fruits of the new creation order. "Fear not, LITTLE FLOCK; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." [Luke 12:32]. Such a little flock! Sometimes we get all taken up with a desire for God to INCREASE THE FLOCK. Christendom has always been concerned with numbers. Bigger churches, bigger offerings, more and more works. Ah, we are being called unto GOD'S INCREASE. For full well He knows that once He has brought forth His true SEED-COMPANY, they prefigure the full harvest to come, when He will gather together in one ALL THINGS in Christ.
It is HIS IMAGE that is to be brought forth, and increased in its manifestation in the earth. We are called to become partakers of His divine nature! That means the stripping away of our own self-nature, and the laying down of all gifts and graces wherein we once gloried. In this partaking first of nothingness, there seems to be little remembrance of increase, or expansion. But perfection and FULLNESS are a part of His plan, and we are called to become "joint-heirs with Christ" [Romans 8: 17] of those realities. He is both the "Author and the FINISHER of our faith." [Hebrews 12:2], and the end is secure in Him. The HIGH PROCESSION shall make its way TO ZION, and ultimately we shall be FOUND IN HIM.
There is a glorious truth in the name by which our God revealed Himself to Moses, and Israel, long ago. Moses had said unto God, "Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you,. and they shall say to me, What is His name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, "I AM THAT I AM." [Exodus 3:13-14]. Herein is the revelation that staggers the imagination, and reveals the tremendous purpose of God being wrought in His plan of the ages. His own name is a revelation of His purpose and what is being worked out even in us in these days.
"I AM THAT I AM" comes from the Hebrew tetragram (which word simply means: name of four letters) YHWH.
Strong's Concordance gives the meaning as: The Self-existent One, The Eternal, and that it is from the root, TO BECOME.
In his writings, Rotherham brings out, "The Name itself signifies, 'He who becometh,' and, it should be noted that the verb runs forward into a reduplication of itself," thus we have a literal rendering, "I WILL BECOME WHAT I WILL BECOME." Or, "I will become whatsoever I please to become."
Names used in Scripture are given to reveal character, nature, etc. And here we could also add, purpose. That God, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, would take such a name, is overwhelming. For God to reveal Himself as "HE WHO BECOMETH" immediately makes His name a GRACIOUS PROMISE, and prophetic of His plan and purpose being wrought out through the ages, namely, that there would be in HIS BECOMING a reduplication of Himself, in HIS becoming a multiplied people.
It speaks of expansion, of tremendous enlargement, of the INCREASE OF GOD!
"As many as received Him, to them gave He power (right, privilege) to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name," [John 1:12].
He who is becoming thus reaches out to include us in that becoming, to become a part of HIS ENLARGEMENT. It is to this that we have been called! "Of His own will begat He us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of His creatures." [James 1:18]. Literally, a certain kind of the Himself creatures, or, creations of Himself.
Again, Jude 14, literal translation, "Lo, comes the Lord in holy myriads of Himself"
Which also is what Paul so clearly taught in Romans 8:28-29, that those "who are the called according to His purpose. (Are) whom He did foreknow, (whom) He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren."
What is the PURPOSE of our calling? To be conformed to His image! For all of our process of becoming is an intricate part of that outworking of HE WHO BECOMETH. It is a wheel within a wheel. The purpose of our life being swallowed up into His tremendous purpose which is being wrought out through the ages. Truly we stand in awe before Him at such a revelation of Himself. And then the tremendous love which includes us in the working, for HE IS PLEASED TO BECOME for us all that we need, for HE is our sufficiency.
Among the manifestations of the glory of the Lord, which Ezekiel saw, we find, Ezekiel 1:4, "and a fire enfolding itself."
The word "enfolding" is from a Hebrew word that literally means: to take, receive, or catch oneself.
What a marvelous working, the outreaching of His fire, "Our God is a consuming fire," [Hebrews 12:29], that as He reaches out and takes to Himself, there is a thorough purging, so as He receives INTO HIMSELF, all is pure, holy as He is holy. As He embraces to Himself all that He has purged by His fire, He is INCREASED, expanded, multiplied. Therefore this "fire enfolding itself" is again speaking of the glorious process whereby there is an INCREASE OF GOD. "Who maketh ...His ministers a flaming fire." [Psalm 104:4]. Of the same fire that HE IS. To fulfill that word, "Because as He is, so are we in this world." [1 John 4:17].
Do we desire to see righteousness and holiness in our land? Then we must yield ourselves to this "FIRE enfolding itself," until we are fully purified, become one in the nature of the Fire, holy as He is holy, and thus the manifestation of HIS HOLINESS is increased in the earth. How beautifully this has been expressed in a chorus:
"Let Him enfold you in His presence,
Let Him engulf you in His love,
Till nothing's left of earthly treasures,
Transformed you'll be like Him above.
Transformed to live this life of beauty,
Beauty of holiness, cleansed of all sin,
Transformed to shine with His own radiance,
Till all shall see Christ dwells within."
Yes, there is to be an INCREASE OF GOD which incorporates
us into that increase. "For all things originate with Him and come from
Him; all things live through Him, and all things center in and tend to consummate
and to end in Him." [Romans 11:36, Amplified].
As He takes, receives, and enfolds to Himself, it truly passes THROUGH THE FIRE, so that He might gather it all together in harmony again. Not to just restore it to the same original state, but there has been an EXPANSION, a BECOMING, an enlargement, yet He shall be "ALL IN ALL-- that is, be everything to everyone, supreme, THE INDWELLING AND CONTROLLING FACTOR OF LIFE." [1 Corinthians 15:28, Amplified].
There is a return into the original state as to quality, but not as to quantity. The purity is HIS, the nature is HIS, the image is HIS, and He is the fullness "that filleth all in all." [Ephesians 1:23]. But now there is not just an "ALL" but there has been a reduplication of itself, to now be an ALL IN ALL. Still all of Him, but increased into a manifold expression of Himself. Filling all, controlling all, BEING ALL!
How shall all of this be accomplished? "Of the increase ...The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this." [Isaiah 9:7].
The Hebrew word for "zeal" is "qinah" from the root "qana" meaning: to be zealous; and in a sense, jealous; from the Arabic, to be red (from the redness with which the face is suffused). The whole thought is the energy force of God in ardent motion to accomplish what He has purposed. It is HIS handiwork all the way! From beginning to end, HE is the FORCE which will accomplish this. The creature begins nothing, continues nothing, and ends nothing. It is GOD ALL THE WAY! The only way for God to insure that the quality would remain the same, in the increase of quantity, is for Him to do it all Himself. He is the standard, and the quality is His own LIFE. It is His energy force set in motion, afire enfolding itself, thus maintaining the quality of purity which is Himself.
However vast the expansion, the principle remains, "The length and the breath and the height of it are equal." [Revelation 22:16]. "He is able to save them to the UTTERMOST that come unto God by Him." [Hebrews 7:25]. And He will not be satisfied with less, nor, thank God, will He allow us to be satisfied with anything less. "He also has planted eternity in men's heart and mind ( a divinely implanted sense of a purpose working through the ages which nothing under the sun, but only God, can satisfy." [Ecclesiastes 3:11, Amplified].
"In Christ shall ALL be made alive. But every man in his own order:" [1 Corinthians 15:22-23]. The first fruits are all of His quality, for the Fire has enfolded them to itself in absolute purification. So also every succeeding order and rank. The final order to be brought in shall still be of the same quality. The standard is never diminished, for HE is that standard. Bless His holy name.
"The anger (energy force, fire enfolding) of the Lord shall not return, until HE have executed, and till HE have performed the thoughts of His heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly." [Jeremiah 23:20].
There is a marvelous illustration of expansion, of increase, when we read, Isaiah 9:8, "The Lord sent a word into Jacob, and it hath lighted upon Israel."
God spoke forth a word of purpose-promise unto one man, Jacob. He was the supplanter, the deceiver, the carnal man of the flesh. But by the time it lighted, found its resting place in fulfillment, it had spread out upon the whole nation of Israel. What power in His Word! Increasing as it went forth to accomplish His plan. Given to Jacob, but by the time God was ready for the promise to become reality, Jacob had increased to a full nation, so God fulfills the promise for the whole nation.
There is another thought included here. For though it was sent to a very carnal man, by the time it lighted, was fulfilled, it was on a MUCH HIGHER DIMENSION, upon Israel. Jacob had gone through his time of wrestling with the angel of the Lord. He had confessed his sinful state, and he had been TOUCHED BY GOD. His name was changed to Israel. i.e. A PRINCE OF GOD. No more a supplanter, but now a prince of God. And furthermore, multiplied into a nation that are called to be a kingdom of priests unto the Most High. It could not be fulfilled in his sinful state, but by the time the FIRE had laid hold and enfolded them all in Itself, there would be brought forth "the Israel of God," [Galatians 6:16] through whom all nations of the earth would be blessed. "The gifts and calling of God are without repentance." [Romans 11:29]. God has not changed His mind about the promise, but He knows full well that before He can fulfill it, all Israel must be saved, and then brought into the quality of His spiritual life. The promise shall LIGHT UPON THEM, be fulfilled through them, and the increase continues as all nations are blessed by the outflow of HIS LIFE through them.
We read that "The Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon." [Judges 6:34]. The word "came" used here, is actually a Hebrew word that means "clothed." And there are two ways of reading it, that "He clothed Gideon with Himself," or, "Jehovah clothed Himself with Gideon." God clothed Gideon with Himself, and as a FIRE ENFOLDING, took and wrapped Himself around Gideon, to become his power and might for the accomplishment of the task.
However, the other thought is also beautiful, for as the FIRE ENFOLDS Gideon, purifies him, God can clothe Himself with Gideon, put on Gideon and not diminish His own quality one bit. What this all is saying is that there is to be a ONENESS, for as the FIRE enfolds, it purifies and makes ONE with Himself, that we can become His covering, and that He can be our covering.
To help prove the point that it was ALL GOD'S WORKING, God instructed Gideon to lead the army of those who had rallied with him, down to the water to drink, and be sifted and chosen, and there were only three hundred who passed the test. It was this REMNANT that God sent forth against the greatly increased negative realm, but the results were secure. The negative immediately went into a decrease, and there was the INCREASE OF GOD, with His victory to be realized. Not by might, nor by power, but by the Spirit of the Lord.
Over the years there has been much teaching on man's inheritance in God. But Paul's prayer was far different in its emphasis. "The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of HIS inheritance in the saints." [Ephesians 1:18]. For while it is true that we do have an inheritance in Him, which we shall share as joint-heirs with Christ, yet it is also true that HE has His inheritance IN US - in a people whom He is enfolding into Himself. A people who are truly a reduplication of Himself -"to shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light." [1 Peter 2:9].
Indeed, "I will dwell in them, and walk in them, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people." [2 Corinthians 6: 16].
"For in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in Him." [Colossians 2:9-10]. Williams translation is beautiful here, "Through UNION WITH HIM you too are filled with it."
In Him is fullness, and the more we are enfolded into Him, the more we are made partakers of that glorious reality. While at the same time, the more we become one in Him, the greater is HIS INHERITANCE IN US. This union is essential. Furthermore, full well "He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust." [Psalm 103:14]. So He does not place the responsibility upon us to be our own "saviour," and to lift ourselves up by our own bootstraps, but HE works within us until the union is complete. "For it is GOD which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure." [Philippians 2:13]. Because it is His in working, it becomes self-evident that it is also the INCREASE OF GOD -- His expansion in that which HE BECOMETH. To this we have been called, and "Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it." [1 Thessalonians 5:24].
O Word of Life expanding, a people to become
His will, intent, and purpose, perfect is the sum.
Expansion of the Father, the glory of His grace,
Revealed within a people, a new creation race.
They're called to share His glory, ending of all strife,
On Zion's mount receiving His more abundant life.
All those the Fire enfoldeth, become as He is pure,
The purpose of the ages in Him remains secure. .
The increase we're beholding is not from earthen clod,
It is His work within us that yields 'increase of God.'
From Him all things proceeding, to Him all things return,
So let this Fire enfolding -- in us now freely burn.