It was the rule of the heavens which Nebuchadnezzar had to come to recognize - the thing to which the Lord brought him in a very severe and drastic way. He said, "Thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee after that thou shalt have known that the heavens do rule."
The significance of that statement is just this: that while you may have presented in the Bible a system of things pertaining unto God - with many phases and aspects, many details, many forms of expression - those are not the things. They are only representations of heavenly, Divine, spiritual laws and principles. The earthly things are made after the pattern of things in the heavens, and the earthly things and the natural world, for the most part, are not the realities. They are only reflections and representations of reality, which is heavenly and spiritual.
The Book of Hebrews states that there was a tabernacle ... but it was not the tabernacle. And all that was related to the tabernacle was but a representation - a system of sensory expressions given to a great, heavenly system; it was the embodiment of spiritual laws and spiritual principles, and the type was destined to pass to make room for the realities.
Here is this fact: There is a heavenly system which is entirely spiritual - which cannot for one moment be apprehended by the natural senses - but God has illustrated it by types and figures and various means, never intending that men should take hold of, and perpetuate, that which is only a type ... but that they should come to recognize that, lying behind all that, there is a spiritual system which God wants them to enter into. We know this in a sense, but we do not recognize it adequately; and because we do not know this adequately, Christendom is astray. It has laid hold on representations and made them realities, so making the earthly thing an end - and failing to see the spiritual principles lying behind everything.
If you are only occupied with the thing, you will find sooner or later that that leads you nowhere. It cannot carry you through, and it simply becomes an end in itself. But immediately you get the spiritual principle back of that and are delivered from the mere thing in itself, then you get right through into what is altogether beyond limit. And God is governing by those spiritual laws. It is the heavenly system that is ordering everything. With God it is what lies behind in the unseen that is final, ultimate.
That being the case, we are able to understand why everything that relates to what is utterly of God demands spiritual revelation. It must and can only be revealed by the Holy Spirit, and that means that there be a spiritual state on the part of the individual. They must be spiritual beings in the truest sense of their nature. That is the statement of Paul with which we are so familiar. He says that the natural man (the soulical man) receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, neither can he know them; they are foolishness unto him. "But he that is spiritual judgeth [discerneth] all things."
To the natural man everything which related utterly to God is a mystery and can only be apprehended by spiritual revelation on the ground of the man's having himself become a spiritual being. It is here, you see, that mere cleverness is already ruled out. It does not stand here. Intellectual development and power, as such, are set aside. Scholarship, as such, has nothing to do with the things of the Spirit. The natural man, good or bad, cannot come in here. Human efficiency cannot come into this realm. The natural man will count on the things of nature, so God must rule him out. The proud cannot enter into the things of the Spirit.
And yet, we so very often come before men as if we knew something. We have here on the earth certain advantages and abilities, and we display them before men. That is just the terrible danger of the present system, which makes something of man and puts man in a certain place and gives him a position of power over crowds of people.
God beholdest the proud afar off ... and when you want the real essence of spiritual blessing, you have to come to the one who has been broken and shaken and ground to powder - who in himself is absolutely nothing. Then God begins to pour of Himself through that one, and He has what He wants. What God wants is spiritual people in this deepest sense - wholly spiritual - that He might give revelation and show that the heavens do rule.
(continued with # 2)