I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. John 10:11
The Mystery Of Christ
Thy Rod and Thy Staff
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Psalm 23:4
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. James 1:12-21
And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. Revelation 20:4-6
How are the things of Esau searched out! how are his secret stores looked for! All the men who were united with you have been false to you, driving you out to the edge of the land: the men who were at peace with you have overcome you; they have taken their heritage in your place. Will I not, in that day, says the Lord, take away the wise men out of Edom, and wisdom out of the mountain of Esau? And your men of war, O Teman, will be overcome with fear, so that every one of them may be cut off from the mountain of Esau. Because you were the cause of violent death and because of your cruel behaviour to your brother Jacob, you will be covered with shame and will be cut off for ever. Obadiah 1:6-10 Bible in Basic English (Teman: “they of the south”)
For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head. For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the heathen drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been. But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions. And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the LORD hath spoken it. And they of the south shall possess the mount of Esau; and they of the plain the Philistines: and they shall possess the fields of Ephraim, and the fields of Samaria: and Benjamin shall possess Gilead. And the captivity of this host of the children of Israel shall possess that of the Canaanites, even unto Zarephath; and the captivity of Jerusalem, which is in Sepharad, shall possess the cities of the south. And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD'S. Obadiah 1:15-21
(Zarephath: “ambush of the mouth”, snared by your own words)
(Sepharad: “a book descending”, the manifestation of that which is recorded)
But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say. 1Corinthians 10:5-15
“As though looking over the shoulder of The Lord Jesus Christ to view what was before Him, I saw the flock of the Lord, each lamb walking and being herded by the shepherd. In His left hand He held a rod and in His right hand a shepherd’s staff. As the sheep walked forward they would have disobedience, filthy thoughts, waywardness and rebellions rise up in them. As these elements arose in the sheep Jesus would strike them with the rod in His left hand not just to correct this, but to expose this even more. As He smote the sheep that were being wayward their rebellions appeared even more and their filth was exposed even more. At the same time however Jesus would guide these same sheep gently with His staff in His right hand, leading them to the finest grasses and the most gentle of pastures. The sheep had this dual working taking place in them, the striking of their lives to expose falsehood and the leading to bring them into places of much food and rest.”
“I beheld the shepherd of the sheep guide the sheep as a flock, this time causing the sheep to follow behind the shepherd. He took them through a great wasteland, a land cluttered with the destructions of God’s judgments upon the world of men. Many things were burnt and destroyed and the towers that man had built had all collapsed into great heaps of rubble and broken stone. All about on the earth was this scene of massive destruction. Through this maze of the broken world of men the shepherd led the sheep ever so gently, guiding them even to the entrance of the beautiful city wherein there was no destruction and everything glowed brightly with the glory of the city which was the Kingdom of God. Jesus led His cleansed flock even through the gate into this city and in the city to the very pasturelands which surrounded the high place of His Throne.”
“I saw then Jesus go out unto the nations of the earth, and each one in succession, one by one He led back as He had led His original flock right into the gates of the New Jerusalem. I heard: “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” John 10:16. All these in due order were brought out of the massive destruction that was the judgment of God in the world of men into the safety and peace of The New Jerusalem.”
Continuing on in the study of The Mystery of Christ. This mystery comes across by life long experience and in a continued pursuance of the things of the Lord. In this study a slight combination of The Mystery of His Will and the Mystery of Iniquity shall be touched upon because it is impossible to show the shepherd of the sheep without viewing the will of that shepherd. To view the shepherd is to view the will of the shepherd and the nature of the shepherd who leads His sheep ever so gently, yet cleanses them from any wayward condition they may possess. The shepherd was never subject to the Mystery of Iniquity because Jesus was the sinless Son; He had no iniquitous nature in Himself. His was a will that was aligned perfectly with the purpose of the Father and therefore He did not have to overcome “self will”, but rather expressed the deepest of mysteries when He said “Not my will, but thine be done”. If Christ had no iniquitous self will to put down, then what did He align His life to in that statement? He simply put down the will of His fleshly body to live in favour of the Father’s will for Him to offer Himself as a sacrifice for sin, atoning for our “self will” rebellion. He took upon Himself the full gamut of our infirmities that we might be free of them all. That was His personal qualification as a shepherd who was given the flock of God. His statement was not a statement of rebellion, but of mercy.
Even in this late hour, one which would overcome all things and be found perfect at the coming of Jesus must have one main characteristic. And that is that one cannot get through this time we are in if one is not broken. If they are not crushed by the torment of their own life in this world. They “hate” their own life, loathe it, despise it on every turn. Now that is not to say that they are suicidal. Rather, they hate the fact that the more one overcomes, the more one will have stirred up in themselves the elements of their own failings. Instead of seeing themselves as being perfect in Christ and one with Christ they see themselves as having tremendous fault. Iniquity is being brought to the full in the lives of those who would partake of the first resurrection. There is in the lives of them who are called with a high and a holy calling, even the calling to inherit the Throne with the Lord Jesus Christ, the FULL GROWTH of The Mystery of Iniquity. They have in themselves a FULL MANIFESTATION OF FLESH. And for me to say that does not detract one iota from the truth of scripture, rather, the truth of God’s word becomes rightly divided because of it. We are told to love our neighbour as ourselves. That core element of “life” from the Lord in us, that part of us which is the true created portion of our life that is the element we are to love. The hidden mystery of iniquity causing us to err is that which we loathe. All our separations and divisions can be traced to this rebellion in our lives.
The Lord ordained that every single one of the mysteries He created and wrote into the Epistles would be completed in every person, no matter who the person is or if they are dead or alive. In each one the mysteries of His person are to be worked out completely including the Mystery of Iniquity. And just as each one must come full course and be completed in each one, so too must Jesus become to each one the great shepherd of the sheep. He must to them become that shepherd that leads them to safety and removes from them all taints of the flesh that manifests itself because of the power of iniquity in the life of any person born into this world. This cleansing of the person takes place whether the person is still alive, or no matter what time frame in history they lived in, or if they died and they have passed on to the other side, their bodies laid in dust or ashes behind them. The Lord works in both the dead and the living to finish in each and every single soul the full course of the mysteries He ordained and created in His infinite wisdom.
The definition of iniquity best described is “self will”. It is that member within you that is rampant, apart from the life of God and is living in full rebellion against the things of the Lord. The incredible thing that the Lord does to cleanse us of self will is He allows that self will to rise, to become stronger, to overtake us even in our power to choose right and eschew evil. The power of the will of one in rebellion against the gospel of the Lord and against His love for them often becomes the ruler in our lives. That which would combine itself with the sinful nature we all have in possession and thus makes us completely opposite of what we want to be. We desire to please the Lord, to be one in heart and mind and purpose, to have unbroken fellowship with our fellow sojourners in this walk of gentle peace. Instead we have found a world around each one of us rife with division, with heartache, with misunderstandings and worst of all, with a view of our own failings in that which is right. It is through all of this that Jesus still guides us with His rod and His staff. Correcting us and shepherding us into perfect obedience, cleansed of all the taints of sin. This is a LONG DRAWN OUT PROCESS.
You cannot state in truth that you do not have this dealing of the Lord in your life. We are all still in the throes of having to overcome this sinful iniquitous nature. There is in you that duality which is a combination of that which we love verses that which we hate. And the Lord allows this to work continually, day by day, sometimes with no relief in sight. On top of that He allows the most hurtful situations to arise, the most painful losses, the loss of those we care for or love, the loss of wealth or of reputation. Health issues and realms of personal depression. All these things He allows to assail the life of the lamb who would be shepherded by the bishop of their souls for the simple reason that we learn one single lesson. That lesson is that we learn, by the multitude of trials that assail us is to keep our gaze and our hearts single upon the Lord alone. We learn by all we go through that the Lord wants us to ONLY view Him and to ONLY listen to His voice and not the voice of any stranger. And my how jealous the Lord is to do this in us! He will cut us off of the fellowship of others. He will as it were use His rod to break our bones! He wants us to be SINGULAR in our attention to HIM ALONE. In this jealous motivation of His Holy Spirit, He will cause to come to you whatever circumstances that are necessary to separate you unto Him. He wants you ALL FOR HIMSELF and He is not willing to share you with anyone else! If it means the loss of all things, if it means suffering the infamy of total rejection and of being hated by others, if it means you cannot do for yourself what others do so easily, know that it is because the shepherd is cutting you off FOR HIMSELF. He loves the sheep and He gives His life for them, and He will insist that you give your life back TO Him! He does that by separating you unto Himself.
For the life of the Overcomer this has come to full term. There is no way that you can say unconditionally that your own iniquitous nature has not come to the full. It most certainly has! And it is rife with rebellion against the Lord! Also, your hope in His appearing has come to the full. There is in you that singular desire that Jesus will come again bringing you into your full inheritance in the first resurrection! Both of these are in you at the very same time! If you deny it, then you will state that you are equal with the Lord in HIS holiness alone and that your life is not in accord with this full measure of iniquity that the Lord has ordained for this time in the world of men. In a most unique way, the Overcomer has both these elements fully matured in them and therefore they are in the throes of this duality. You will HATE the one and LOVE the other! The Lord speaks and walks and talks in that part of you which is full of the joy of His appearing, that blessed hope which fills you continually. And the other part of your life totally contradicts His appearing in you. Both of these are in you in a continuance. AND YOU SHOULD NOT FEEL CONDEMNED FOR THIS. THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THE LORD WANTED TO DO IN YOU. It was the will of God to bring these both in full measure in your life. So then Jesus, with His rod, will strike the one and with His staff will lead the other. Your duality IS ABOUT TO END. For at the moment of the last trump, the call of the Ram’s Horn giving forth the clarion call to the end of your fleshly life, HE WILL COME, and splitting down the Mount of Olives (your-self life), He will cause you to be cut in half, dividing you into two equal parts. The negative part you loathe will He destroy with the brightness of His appearing, the side that is of your new nature will be ALL THAT REMAINS.
Jesus in His shepherding capacity is unbounded. His work as the shepherd of the sheep will not ever end. He will continually lead and guide His own into pastures of plenty causing them to lay down in safety giving them fresh springs of living water to drink in a continual flow. The part of the sheep which caused them to be wayward is to be removed from them by the rod of His correction. The part of their lives which would lead the sheep to go into brambles and treachery will be removed. In the first resurrection this will take place. It is so important to note that this duality exists in your life. If you are not prepared to admit that duality to the Lord, then you will never be cleansed of it in your lifetime. It is so necessary to know that we are still in the throes of good versus evil, that this interplay is still ongoing UNTIL HE COMES.
The deceived Sons are not so. They identify themselves as being one with the Lord and with no other thing. The results can be subtle for they then abandon themselves to receiving everything in the spirit as being from God rather than to try the spirits to see if they indeed are of God. But when we confess that our duality has grown to the full, we can submit ourselves with joy to the leading of the shepherd and He will work in your life to prepare you for His coming when this duality will end. Few indeed are those who are given over in such a manner gleefully to the shepherd, few there are that found this duality ready to be done away with. Instead of denying it, they know it and are ready to have it done in themselves.
The Overcomers at the appearing of the great shepherd of the sheep will be granted full deliverance from all that is flesh and all that is fallen in themselves because they were ready to be delivered. They did not resist this working of the Lord to ‘round up in themselves’ all that was contrary to His perfect will and nature. These submitted to the rod and to the staff, they overcame even as He had overcome. Rather than to deny that this exists in you, be honest with the Lord and confess it to Him and then allow His rod to cleanse you of it all. That is the working of the Mystery of Christ in the life of those who would awake in His likeness.
To be continued………………
Kenneth B Visscher