Be Consumed with Zeal for the Father's House
Paul L. Garlington
 


“And they were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. And everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles.” (Acts 2:42)

As we explored in detail in the previous issue of Heartbeat, continual devotion to the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer leads inevitably to feeling a sense of awe. But why? Why was the apostolic community continually feeling a sense of awe? The answer can be summarized in the following three points:
  1. The temple had been cleansed of all robbers;
  2. They were constantly seeing God’s glory/mighty acts; and
  3. They now know what it means to speak as ONE having authority.
When you have come to understand the truth that God is One and that the One God is present as you, you will speak with authority. It is because Jesus was committed to this truth as THE only truth that the people witnessing His words and deeds said of Him, “He was teaching them as one having authority and not as the scribes/Pharisees spoke.” How many of you are ready for your word to be one of power to the end that when you speak it is done?

“And Jesus entered the temple (i.e., representative of the house of God, tabernacle, the consciousness of God’s omnipresence) and cast out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves. And He said to them, ‘It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer; but you are making it a robbers’ den.’” (Mat 21:12-13)

Now the very fact that there is commerce, interchange, interaction going on smacks of duality. In the reality of oneness, there is no commercial exchange going on. However in duality, you will always have those who have products and services to sell and those who need their wares. This infers lack and inequality. These would-be merchants are indeed robbers, for their presence alone is an indictment against the truth of the omnipresence of good. A robber is defined as anyone who gives power, presence and intelligence to anyone or thing apart from God. Hence lack of any kind is always related to thieves and robbers in the temple. When the robbers are driven out of your consciousness, it is the end of anything that disturbs the peace and causes lack of any kind.

In the aftermath of the temple cleansing, “...the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them.” (Mat 21:14) What a beautiful example of the inevitable correlation between the expulsion of all robbers, which results in the glory of the Lord filling the temple, and the restoration that always follows immediately.

Isn’t it obvious how utterly useless it is to get involved in regression therapy or any other futile endeavor to locate the cause of your dysfunctional life? The facts are so obvious—when the robbers are driven out of the temple, the temple is filled with the glory of God (i.e., God’s omnipresent goodness), and anything that is unlike the glory of God cannot share the turf with infinite omnipresence. It is just that simple. Where the glory of God is present, there is no lack of any kind.

“But when the chief priest and scribes saw the wonderful things that He had done, and the children who were crying out in the temple and saying, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David,’ they became indignant. And said to Him, ‘Do you hear what these are saying?’ And Jesus said to them, ‘Yes; have you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babes Thou has prepared praise for Thyself.”’ (Mat 21:15-16)

Have you, with good intentions and sympathy, sought to share with those who were indignant? Stop it!! You cannot help them. If someone is not ready to concede all glory to the One, be they relative or friend, you have already lost the battle. Come out of sympathy and return to reality boldly proclaiming without apology that God has already raised up a people to praise His name. Aren’t you evidence of this fact? “Moreover, your little ones who you said would become a prey, and your sons, who this day have no knowledge of good or evil, shall enter there and I will give it to them, and they shall possess it.” (Deut 1:39)

“And He left them and went out the city to Bethany (i.e., after He had cleansed His Father’s house), and lodged there.” (Mat 21: 17) Bethany is the home of Lazarus whom Jesus raised from the dead. Awesome things always happen when you let the robbers go. Yet despite the awesome benefits of letting robbers go, paradoxically, we are still, too often, reluctant to consent to this mandatory process. Some of us are often found coddling the robbers while pushing good away since the robber may be a relative or a friend. The robber can also be some cherished idea or concept. WE ALL KNOW OUR ROBBERS. We know who they are and we know where they are hiding. Mark’s accounting (Mark 11: 11-24) of this incident is also quite enlightening. “And he entered Jerusalem and came into the temple (Please note: here again, when Jesus enters a new place, His first concern is the temple or the consciousness of God’s omnipresence.); and after looking all around, He departed for Bethany with the twelve, since it was already late.” What is Jesus looking around for? For robbers. Jerusalem means peace, yea even foundation for peace. Our peace is always undermined and destroyed whenever robbers are present in the temple. The crucifixion of Christ symbolizes the death of the false self, ego or sense of separation. Hence Jesus’ death is the death that is appointed for every man who would enter the kingdom of God. Fear not!!! You will surely arise with a shout of victory, exclaiming, “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting.” (1 Cor 15:55)

Furthermore, at this death, all thieves and robbers are crucified with the old self. It is in this way, and no other way, that the temple can be cleansed. Hence, there are only two classes of people in the world—Those who have embraced the One in the power of His resurrection, or those who are still crying out, “Give us Barabbas.” It is extremely foolish to request a robber in lieu of the consciousness of God’s omnipresence (i.e., this is what Jesus Christ represents), and still wonder why,... “This is a people plundered and despoiled; all of them are trapped in caves, or are hidden away in prisons; they have become a prey with none to deliver them, and a spoil, with none to say, ‘Give them back!’” (Isaiah 42:22)

“And on the next day, when they had departed from Bethany, He became hungry. And seeing at a distance a fig tree in leaf, He went to see if perhaps He would find anything on it; and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. And He answered and said to it, ‘May no one ever eat fruit from you again!’ And His disciples were listening. So they came to Jerusalem. And He entered the temple and began to cast out those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves.”

Jesus was not going about the expulsion of the robbers from the temple in some kind of lukewarm, tepid fashion. On the contrary, in the Book of John, the disciples recall that it is written that as for Jesus, “The zeal for Thy house will consume Me.” Until zeal consumes you, you are going to coddle the robbers. You have got to be so consumed with jealousy for God’s house that you will not rest content until every robber is driven out of the temple.

To those who were observing His behavior and demeanor, He appeared to them as one possessed. Paul eludes to that kind of mood, feeling, attitude and behavior in 2 Cor 5:13, when he says, “If we are beside ourselves, it is for God...” Too often we are possessed and beside ourselves rather because of the lying appearance, but when it comes to God, we are too often lukewarm and tepid. We did not learn Christ in this way. We must have a zeal for the glory and honor of the One that so possesses and consumes us that we will not rest content until every robber is driven out of the temple. When that happens, we won’t find ourselves talking about faith, trust and how to believe God for one thing or another. Nothing but the glory of God will fill the temple (i.e., the consciousness of God’s omnipresence), and nothing will be present in our life experience but perfect everything.

“And He would not permit anyone to carry goods through the temple.” Jesus didn’t just drive out the robbers, He kept them out. Why is Jesus doing this? In one place where He cast out of a man certain spirits which represented belief in duality and separation, it is inferred that the man did nothing to fill the emptiness with the consciousness of God. Therefore, the spirits returned and the latter state of the man was worse than the first. You must come to the state where you are not only committed with the zeal that consumes you to drive out the robbers, but you are just as committed to ensure that they never return. This is why we are admonished in scripture to be sober, vigilant, and alert.

Continuing in this same passage from Mark, we see how Jesus, who having cursed the fig tree just prior to cleansing the temple, establishes the lifestyle that is normal for the accelebrant who is equally committed. “And as they were passing by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots up. And being reminded, Peter said to him, ‘Rabbi, behold, the fig tree which You cursed has withered.’ And Jesus answered saying to them, ‘Have faith in God. Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it shall be granted you.’”

In other words, when you have all the robbers driven out of the temple as far as your own individual experience is concerned, you will find yourself speaking the word that banishes lack of every kind forever. “You will also decree a thing, and it will be established for you; and light will shine on your ways.” (Job 22:28) Being only conscious of God’s omnipresence, your word, having power to create, will never be barren or unfruitful.

 
 

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