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A question of working visibly

in the realm of the invisible.

Isaiah 26:1, 60:18,21, Zechariah 2:5, 4:5, Galatians 4:26 call for our attention. In order these are as follows.

In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah: We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks.

Violence shall no more be heard in your land, wasting nor destruction within your borders; but you will call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise.

Your people shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified.

For I, says the Lord, will be to her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her.

Then the angel who talked with me answered and said to me, Do you not know what these be? And I said, No, my lord.

{Zechariah 4 proceeds to show that it is not by might but by the Lord's Spirit that all is to be wrought, and typifies the high priest and prince in terms of the Messiah in His contrasting utter purity, the headstone on whom - 3:9 - is to be laid the iniquity and by whom this is to be cleared in one day.}

But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.

ALL are to be righteous, we read, and the building is to have as walls SALVATION, as gates, PRAISE. What IS this building, based (SMR Ch.9) on the Lamb as headstone and foundation (Isaiah 28:16, I Corinthians 3:11; see SMR pp. 1053-1072)? What is this magnificence for a people to come? Are not the Jews to find that HE will give HIS servants ANOTHER NAME (Isaiah 65:10-13, 62:1-3).Messiah people or Christians they will be and this is the church into which all come (Isaiah 66). ALL in it are righteous. Its very walls are salvation, and these? These are its safekeeping! For, as Paul says in I Thessalonians 5, God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation.

We also read in this word, that AROUND THE GLORY SHALL BE A DEFENCE, or covering (Zechariah 4:5). The Lord, we find, is their everlasting light (Isaiah 60:19). A wall around about her and the Lord in her midst, we read. Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in their midst, said Christ; and as to His sheep, no man shall snatch them out of His hand, and they shall never perish - John 10:27-28. Salvation as walls and as bulwarks... (See SMR pp. 94, 459, 756-763, 792-793, 801, 825-829, 941, 1108-1111.)

THERE IS A BODY OF WHOM EACH MEMBER IS RIGHTEOUS, AROUND WHOM IS GOD THE COVERING, SALVATION LIKE A WALL STRETCHING AS FAR AS EYE CAN SEE, NEVER TO BE ABOLISHED OR OVERCOME. There is a body whose citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20). My dead body shall they arise, says the Lord (Isaiah 26:19). As to Christ, says Paul, He "shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able to subdue all things to Himself." "And many that sleep in the dust," says Daniel from the Lord, "shall awake, some to everlasting life..." (12:2).

THERE IS A CITIZENRY OF THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, OF THAT JERUSALEM WHICH IS ABOVE, THE MOTHER OF ALL BELIEVERS. This is a real body of genuine people, all alive, free kings and priests to God (as in Revelation 1 - see Ch.2, The Kingdom of Heaven...).

Fired by the Lord, it has His glory in its midst. When it gathers by faith in His name, there He is in its midst. It asks - even 2 or 3 - in His name (Matthew 18) and He being there, hears and will answer.

This invisible body has very visible people in it who, though sinners, can meet, seek, avail themselves of the Lord, of His presence, power and grace - of His glory in their midst, asking for His will, necessary power (cf. Ephesians 1:17-19, I John 2:27), understanding and grace - mercy and direction for service.

When evil teaching or folly arises, it needs to be purged; or at the extreme, separation may be necessary from the erring body flitting from the faith. The visible expression of that invisible body must not be played with, but worked with, co-operated with, loved; but where dead or moribund, where departing categorically from any part of the Bible, after warning, left.

The focus, however, the purity and the power needs to be kept. The visible church needs to remain holy, focussed in faith on Christ and therefore upon His word, just and true.

As such, this invisible body for the invisible God greatly participates in visible form. This is THE church; but it is commissioned to be occupied in visible form, in the work of the Lord. As it so moves, He so acts. The two should never be confused, the visible glorified or the invisible denied; and faith, works and grace are needed to ensure that one is occupied with the servants and in the service of the Lord; for which His word is the guide, and integrity is required that has no mixed motives. Many are they who have suffered in extremities rather than yield to the blandishments of the world in the church, or a 'church' of the world, using the means, methods and motives of the world while - stillborn - crying in vain the name of Christ.

The visible church is required to have leaders who are men (Titus 1:5-6), supervisors, and God Himself has appointed in the church gifts and offices (I Corinthians 13; 12:4-9, Romans 12:5-14, Ephesians 4:11-12, Acts 20:28), including male pastors - though ladies may indeed expound in suitable setting (I Corinthians 11:5). The word of God being complete in its presentation to our race, no directions from God are available any more to add to His word. (See A Question of Gifts Sections X and XI, SMR Appendices C, D.)

We are therefore required to participate in the church as God ordained it, and not to suffice ourselves with an invisibility which lacks offices and officers - any more than we should trust in these as ultimate, and not trust ourselves wholeheartedly to the Lord, the only Saviour. Yet we should show to those supervisors the respect and obedience IN the word (Hebrews 13:7,17, 24, Acts 20:28, I Timothy 5:17) which God describes.

Thus the invisible umbilical cord of the visible with the invisible church, continues. It is only when that cord is ultimately by faith found in the founder that the thing is living.