The Primary Object of Divine Need (continued)
That brings together the testimony of Jesus, that is, as to Who the Lord Jesus is and what He is in the appointment of God the Father, the position that He holds, and what is related to Him as to the history and consummation of the universe. The testimony of Jesus, Sovereign Lord, and the vessel as eternally foreknown, foreordained, chosen in Him before the foundation of the world, brought into being in time, and as seen by the Scripture, joined with Him in His heavenly position for that testimony not only to men, but to men by reason of having dealt with the spiritual powers and intelligences back of men.
Now then, we are able to speak a little more about the vessel of the testimony and we are looking at the matter of the vessel as mainly a corporate and collective thing, that is the Body of Christ; but specifically at present that company which is moving, and which the Lord is seeking to bring into that advanced position with Himself, in relation to the heavenlies. Not all the members of the Church which is His Body are there, or are going to be there, but the Lord will from His people obtain a company which will be the vanguard of the whole, and which will go on with Him and take the heavenly place and be His instrument for the breaking through and leading a way for the others. That is the peculiar vessel upon which the heart of the Lord is set, and we believe that we are here in relation to, not God's second or third thing, but God's first thing. It would be very good if one could take that for granted, that everyone here is here because their hearts are wholly bent upon God's first thing, and they will never be content with anything less than that. Well, God's first thing is taking the heavens with Him against those forces which are no opposed to Him in the heavens.
The Universal Range of the Eternal Purpose
I think just one word here extra of a very general character might put us into line with the whole purpose of God. That is, that we should remind ourselves of the cosmic nature of everything in the purpose of God and in the Person of Christ, and in the work of Christ. That word cosmic may not convey to all of you what it is intended as used, but the intention in using it is to indicate the range of God's purpose, and the range of everything relative to the Person and work of the Lord Jesus. The range is not just the limited compass of a few saved people. It is not just the salvation of so many individuals, and it is not just the salvation of a company out from the nations. All these may be stages, steps toward the ultimate; but God has swept the ultimate from the beginning and it is cosmic in its range; that is, it embraces the whole world with all the nations, every inch of territory and all the realm surrounding and encompassing the world; how far beyond that we do not know, only by fragmentary suggestions; but we do know that the whole world and the whole encompassing realm of the lower heavenlies, and super-heavenlies are involved in this purpose of God in the Person of the Lord Jesus and His work. The fall was not just the fall of man; it was the fall of a creation. It was not two people who fell and involved their progeny; it was the fall of a whole creation,and every part of that creation was involved in that fall, touched by that fall. Sin and death, which are the two issues of the fall, were shot through the whole creation and everything is touched by sin and death; and the very atmosphere, air, heavenly realms around the creation is saturated with this spiritual defilement and occupied by sinful elements and death elements, fallen intelligences, "the prince of the power of the air." That was the range of the fall. Redemption is cosmic. It is not just the redemption of man, let alone a few men, it is the redemption of the whole cosmos. While we do NOT believe in Universalism, so called, that even the devil himself is going to be redeemed and saved and put back in a place of honor. We do NOT believe nothing like that!
(continued with # 56)