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"Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut; I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron: And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel. For Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me. I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else." Isaiah 45:1-6
The expression, treasures of darkness, does not mean that they are dark treasures, but they are hidden in darkness until brought to light. The treasures of Babylon are like the treasures in a bank vault. The ones of Babylon were locked in the darkness of that kingdom until broken into and they were taken by Cyrus. It is the same in the spirit. There are treasures of the Lord Jesus that are hidden away in secret places. These secret places can be deep within individuals, in religious organizations, and also in the world. Unless it is by the eye of revelation, nobody will peer into those dark places. It will be impossible for us to see the treasures of God’s Kingdom if He does not open our eyes and give us the authority to take them.
One might not suspect that the two Babylons, one of religion and the other of the world, would be holding many treasures of God’s riches, but they do, and these treasures are not only spiritual things, but they are also people, peculiar treasures. For the most part neither do they know it nor do they know God; but He knows them and the time will come when they will know Him. As it was with Jacob, He will call them by name. It is then that they will know who they are and will know Him. Whether these treasures are individuals in the darkness of Babylon or the treasures of His attributes that are hidden within the depths of their own souls, when the anointed of the Lord invades those kingdoms, the treasures will be revealed and possessed.
These treasures of darkness are to be brought one day into the light, no longer hidden from us or the world. These treasures are not only brought into the light, unveiled, and made known; but as the hour of the unveiling comes, without delay each of us will experientially possess and present them to those in dire need of a long-awaited, refreshing rain. Until that time it can be said, "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him." 1 Corinthians 2:9.
A number of individuals, more than we can count, have promoted themselves as having the keys to the treasures of darkness, claiming they hold in their hands the rich mysteries of God’s Kingdom; but not one person whose eyes have been opened by the voice of the Son of God can lay claim to knowing anything of these treasures. Each of them must first be brought into the divine revelation before this is possible, and when this comes, the flood-tide and flow of heaven’s riches will never cease. You see, the plural word, treasures, signifies not only something laid up and hidden from common view and possession, but suggests an infinite, incalculable supply. It is an amount which cannot be exhausted. It suffices the soul and all spiritual needs and pleasures. It suffices and continually suffices, again and again, over and over, all needs and joys of His wonderful life.
When truth dawns in the person, the effectual work of our Lord Jesus begins to be a reality. It is then that the ever-flowing fullness of His grace in, through, and out of us can be known and seen. It super-abounds over sin and fills our souls with holy awe while being as natural as breathing air. When we truly see the virtue and power that we, the anointed of the Lord, have, it will produce the desired effect of manifesting those inconceivable treasures of darkness. The end purpose of the cross will be experientially known, while carnal man’s appetites are forever consumed by the glory of God’s majesty. The blood of our Lord that judiciously cleanses all from all sin will be a manifested reality. His resurrection that we already know in part will rise in us. His purity, His holiness, His righteousness which is unto all will be joyfully embraced into the ages of the ages.
Praise God! What treasures! Mercy, grace, and peace will be living realities for all those who came out of Him, namely—ALL! He loves so much everyone who were in Him that He will not retire until ALL know Him as they once did, yet in a new and living way! If it were any other way, He would not be the God the Scriptures so clearly describes and we have come to know.
To see this by the eye of revelation is to enter spiritually into His beauty of holiness. It is to comprehend the length, and breadth, and depth, and height of the love of Christ, this love that passes human knowledge and understanding. In the unfathomable ages to come, even if the sun ever wanes to a dying ember, and if the earth should fail to yield her precious increase—these treasures will ever remain; for they are in themselves infinite, inexhaustible, eternal!
The LORD said that He would give His anointed, Cyrus, the hidden riches of secret places. Those natural riches of gold, silver, and precious gems symbolized greater riches that have been hidden away and awaiting discovery by today’s anointed. They are spiritual in nature and each is worth more than a thousand worlds filled with treasures of gold, rare gems, or inexhaustible fields of grain! We yearn to see them, to know with clarity the richest discoveries of the wisdom and goodness of God. Although some have been revealed to us, many more are still a mystery. If they were not, there would be nothing lacking, and His Kingdom would be fully manifested. So, they remain concealed even from the keen eye of those who soar like the eagles.
The secret places are just that—SECRET! But when it is the Lord’s pleasure to bring them forth to those whose eyes He has opened, each will say, "Oh! Great God Almighty! It had truly never entered our hearts, nor crossed the horizons of our minds the treasures of darkness You had laid up in Your secret places for all of us!"
The anointed word of truth surpasses every conceivable thought and every expectation of the heart. These riches of secret places transcend the wealth of the entire natural earth combined with everything in man’s world of religion, economics, and government.
But it is only as these riches of secret places are opened to us that we see, feel, and know what the Lord Jesus Christ is to those who believe in and love His holy name. Joseph Philpot (1802-1869), who resisted the Church of England and was known as "The Seceder," said it this way in one of his sermons:
"It is this bringing forth of the hidden riches of secret places which stamps a divine reality upon God's Word, and makes it to be spirit and life to the soul. To feel the power and blessedness of these things is a part of that ‘secret of the Lord which is with those who fear Him;’ and it is by getting into these blessed secrets, handling these treasures, and obtaining possession of these riches, that we come experimentally (experientially) to realize what a blessed power there is in a divine heartfelt religion. We may see the doctrines plainly enough in the Word of God; but if that is all we know about them, it is like seeing money which is not our own, and casting up accounts of other people's property. The grand point is not only to see the riches, but to be put in possession of them. A religion without power, without savor, without a felt blessedness in the truth of God, by the application of the Spirit, is worthless both for time and eternity. Like a school-boy's sum, it is all upon paper--a vast amount in figures, without the possession of a penny.
"But observe how the promises are connected with ‘crooked places,’ ‘bronze gates,’ and ‘iron bars,’ and the going before of the Lord to remove them out of the way. Without this previous work we would be ignorant to our dying day of ‘the treasures of darkness;’ we would never see with our eyes, nor handle with our hands, ‘the hidden riches of secret places.’ There are but few, comparatively speaking, who know anything of the sweetness and reality of a God-taught religion; of the power of grace upon the soul, or of the riches which are stored up in the fullness of the Son of God. Most, even of those who profess the truth, are satisfied with a name to live, a sound creed, a consistent profession, and admission to church membership, without knowing or desiring to know anything of the blessed reality of communion with God, of a revelation of the Lord Jesus, of the manifestation of His love and mercy to the soul, and the sealings of the blessed Spirit on the heart.
"Is it not so in grace? The Lord may be said ‘to call His people by name,’ when, by a special work of grace upon their heart, He calls them out of the world to a knowledge of Himself. He does not speak in an audible voice, but the effect is as distinct as if He should say, ‘John,’ or ‘Mary, I want you.’ We are not indeed to expect to see the same light, or hear the same audible voice which shone upon and called Saul of Tarsus; but we must experience a measure of the same power, and feel something of the same divine influence. When, then, God thus calls a man, he will, he must come, for He puts forth a power which he cannot and will not resist—at least, not to any purpose. It is certainly grace invincible, if not grace irresistible. Now just see the process. God calls the sinner by name; and though He calls us not vocally as the Lord Jesus Christ called His disciples when He said, ‘Follow Me,’ the effect is still the same." —End quote.
In all this, we learn that the Lord has truly called us by our name which is a genuine work of grace upon our souls. We did not just happen by accident nor decided on our own to follow after the good life of Jesus Christ. We may have thought so at times, or had our doubts and fears about it, but this did not stop us from being thoroughly tried through the years, and a few of us may have wavered with unbelief at times, and/or had many anxious misgivings; even so, the unseen work of God placed His treasures in our hearts for safe keeping, even when we felt that there may have been nothing but darkness therein.
There was a day that dawned on us that our hardened hearts had somehow softened, our unbelief was lifted, and some of those treasures of darkness were brought to light and began to bring us spiritual blessings beyond measure. We then came to know beyond a doubt that God really did call us by our name, that all His works were real, and looking back upon all the ways in which we had been led, sometimes driven, we know that the Lord had gone before us in everything and made our crooked paths straight. Thus, we can now declare with boldness that it was He who called us by our name and out of darkness, and this was because He had already written our name in His book of life. This is the King’s seal upon our hearts like living dew from heaven, even during the dark nights that were upon us at sundry times and seasons.
What a great light that shines upon God's own and reveals them for what and who they are! Here we have before us a true religion, not man’s that is always inspired by the serpent, but one that is inspired by Him alone. In this religion there is heaven’s substance, His divine reality, Jesus personified. It is that which comes down from the throne into the soul of every son and daughter of God as they are awakened to this reality. It is not just changing views in their doctrines or an alteration in life styles, nor is it adopting a certain set of tenets of faith and doctrines, or embracing certain ministers as the only ones from which they will learn. Neither is it by being a member of a particular religious denomination regardless how long it has existed. It is not by attending a certain deep-teaching Bible study group, and it is certainly not to go back to the Old Testament Law and live our lives in a legalistic, religious manner. This is altogether something entirely different! It supersedes man’s ways as much as light supersedes darkness, joy surpasses sorrow, or the mount of transfiguration transcends the hell in the belly of Jonah’s great fish. There is that much difference between the reality of true religion, the treasures of darkness, and that of man’s religion which IS DARKNESS.
Some will surely ask, "Must all who are awakened to salvation go through such trying times?" At one time or another, it will be a must. However, I believe at the present, it depends on whether or not they are the anointed of the Lord, the firstfruits of the high calling. If they are held captive behind the walls of religious Babylon, the answer is no, they will not go through it, at least not in the day of those who are the anointed of the Lord.
The ones who are called to free the treasured captives will certainly go through seemingly impossible odds. They will find that they can neither scale the walls of religious Babylons, their own inner religious orders, nor go through or under them, and likewise with the leaved gates of brass and bars of iron that went from underneath the city walls to the bottom of the river. All that Cyrus faced was humanly impossible, and so it is with those of today’s anointed. Until God gave him the wherewithal to divert the river, he was held back from victory. The gates remained secure. However, when the hour came for it to be otherwise, no one could keep them closed; for that which the Lord opens no man can close, and that which He closes, no man can open. He works as effectually for and in us as He did for Cyrus and his forces. He sees us through all of our difficulties, as we come to grasp the need for Him. We then hold dear to our hearts His grace and omniscient power that enables us to conquer the unconquerable.
Let us not confuse Cyrus’ 539 B.C conquest with that of Darius’ when he overthrew Babylon almost twenty years later: "Following a rebellion of the Babylonian subjects, Darius Hystaspes took the city again in 520 B.C. He demolished the walls significantly and carried off the huge gates (see Jeremiah 51:58). Elsewhere, I have given a detailed account of how the city was taken—again by a ‘snare.’" Herodotus (c. 484 – 425 BC), Greek historian, called the Father of History.
The historian also wrote: "A year
and seven months went by, and Darius and his army began to chafe at their
inability to make any progress towards taking the city. Every trick of strategy,
every possible device, had been tried; but to no purpose. The town could not be
taken, not even when Darius, after all else had failed, attempted to repeat the
method which Cyrus had previously used with success. The Babylonians were always
on the watch with extraordinary vigilance, and gave the enemy no chance."
Most of us would shun God’s refining tools, as we have been noting; but understand that if we had no hardships throughout our spiritual journey, we would be of no value to the Kingdom of God. Moreover, we would most likely conclude that we do not need Him, that we could do very well on our own. We would possibly begin to believe that we can soften our own hearts, and we might say, or at least assume that we have no need for God to soften our hearts while carnally reasoning that we can believe in the Lord Jesus Christ at anytime of our choosing; there is no need for God to speak into our hearts to give us faith. We could presumptiously feel that we can do it ourselves. For it stands to reason that if a man has an overabundance of money, he can go to the grocery store or car dealership and write a check for the amount needed. He is self-sufficient and doesn’t have to ask anyone for anything. Therefore, in error, we think that it should be the same with us, to raise up sufficient faith in our own souls to get saved. With this, why would we need to go to God like homeless beggars on a street-corner and plead for Him to give us faith. If we have millions in our natural, mental banks, we can draw out as much as we please and when we choose. So, it must be the same with faith, we think, or anything else that has to do with spiritual matters. Right? No! Absolutely not! Not by any means!
We might think this scenario is unreasonable; but the fact is far from it; for this is the mind-set of the majority who are joined to the religions of Babylon. Every branch of freewill-religion thinks this way. They seem to believe that even if their life is as crooked as a barrel of rattlesnakes that with some self-effort and a little wit of their own, they can make it as straight as a well-shot arrow. Or they may feel that they can climb up to heaven by their own determination of following after creeds, doctrines, the law, and carnal ordinances. If that is remotely so, why would they need the Lord in their lives? From what we observe, they want to meet Him in the sweet by-and-by when they get to heaven; but except for times of crisis, they are pretty satisfied and accomplished in their religious practices and feel they can make it on their own.
Can we see why it is necessary for God's people to have so many gates of brass and bars of iron; that is, trials and tribulations? Indeed so! It is to bring them into a personal relationship with their Lord and to make their religion a reality rather than like those of carnal works and the dead letter. I am persuaded that religion void of trials, temptations, and hardships is but a charade, a sham, a mockery, a put-on at the best. It is fruitless, therefore—worthless!
James spoke of a true religion which we know is of great worth; but those without Christ’s reality are of no value, not even to the individuals themselves; for religion void of Christ is not what they need. It has no power to deliver men from anything, especially the world; but that is of no great concern to most people of nominal religions; for they go hand-in-hand with the world. Although dressed up as righteous ones of the Lord, they are often empty, acting a theatrical part, living a lie. Someone once said, "The naked truth is better than well lies," and regardless how well-dressed the act might be, untried religion can never give people the wherewithal to overcome sin. It never has and never will. It has nothing in it to equip anyone with what it takes to overcome sin. Religion without life cannot bring heaven’s bliss into a man’s soul; for one, he is very well satisfied with the world and all that it has to offer to want anything that pertains to the Spirit. Remove the tribulations which true religion knows so well, and you take away the effectual working of the Spirit in people’s lives, leaving them with a shell, an appearance, a facade of the treasures of darkness.
Let us by all means, then, praise God for all our trials in life. James said, "Count it all joy when you fall into diverse trials." James 1:2. And count it a blessing that we were chosen of the Lord to be numbered among those who are burdened and exercised in hardships and tribulations and terrible tempests. For by Gods grace our souls will be supported, comforted, and eventually brought out of it all. We will beach upon the blissful shores of our Lord’s peace where all sorrow and tears are wiped away, as the hidden treasures of darkness become a living reality.We may read these encouraging words and rejoice, that is until we find ourselves in the prisons of darkness where there are no comforts to the soul. We may plead for mercy and for God’s vengeance to be poured out to those who have persecuted us or were responsible for our unbearable adversities that are shaking apart every sound thing in our lives. But let us not be of such demeanor; for remember, Paul and Silas were not in despair while in prison but were praying and singing hymns as the other prisoners listened. But to make matters supposedly worse, a great earthquake hit, and they had no avenue of escape. There was nowhere to run for safety. Yet that is what it took to break the bounds of Paul and Silas and free them from prison. The jailer, along with his household, was saved. You see, there were treasures of darkness in that prison (Paul, Silas, the jailer, and his family in the darkness of their home), and they were all brought forth for all to see. So, stand fast, brethren, and see your treasures brought forth and pass in review before all men everywhere.
A longtime friend of ours, Ella, had a similar experience as did Paul and Silas; but her prison was not behind iron bars. Two months ago Ella was in the kitchen and said that she felt as if a dark, foreboding cloud swirled around her head and then slammed her to the floor. She hit on her left knee, which in-turn broke her hip joint. After the surgery, she spent eight weeks in a care center where she could receive physical therapy in order to walk again.
This looked to be a terrible thing, and in a few religious orders, it would have been said that the devil did it just to hurt one of God’s anointed and hopefully to put her out of commission, or that she had some sort of sin in her life. Of course, we know better than that. Neither was the case; but we could not help wondering why this happened to such a dear, eighty-five year old saint of God. What good could come of it? We soon understood! Before she left the hospital, another friend, Daryl Chesser, told us that the Lord spoke to her and said that He was not finished with her, and she would be doing a mighty work, and it proved to be so.
The first person she encountered in the home was the admissions nurse, and she told Ella, "I know that God sent you here." And from that time forth, members of the staff were continually coming to her room for counsel. One aide, who had always been rude and short tempered toward Ella, came to her bedside at 4:00 o’clock in the morning. She was in dire need of godly counsel. She told Ella that previously when she would be attending to her needs, that it was impossible to stay and finish her job due to being so tormented by the tranquility and peace that she felt while in the room. But like a moth drawn to a flame, she could no longer resist the fire of God.
The aide sat in a chair beside Ella’s bed and poured out her heart, saying that she knew all about religion: salvation, baptism of the Holy Spirit, all the gifts of the Spirit, miracles of healing, casting out demons, and more. She went on to say that she had left the church and there was virtually nothing in the world that she had not done, but said that she was so tired of it that she wanted to die. Her sister told her that she had gone so far into sin that God would never forgive her, that she could never get back to that which she had turned her back on and left, and that she would be spending eternity in hell. (What a "sweet" sister with the gospel of "good news." Oh! You think maybe not? And you are right. That is not the gospel by any stretch of the imagination.)
After Ella had ministered to her in such a loving way, the aide said, "What is that smell? Your room smells like roses!" Ella responded by saying, "Maybe it is the rose in the little glass over there that my husband brought me from home." She walked around the bed and smelled it, and replied, "No, that is not it. Your entire room is filled with the fragrance of roses, like a rose garden. The smell is so rich and it is everywhere!" When finally having to leave, she was radiating with the love of God and a renewed hope. She wasn’t seen again until a day or two before Ella was discharged. The aide had been transferred to a different ward and then went on vacation; but she was still excited about her new life, the resurrection life, that Ella had imparted to her. Ella called the chair, where all the nurses and aides sat for counsel, her "confessional chair." The week she left, the staff voted her as the number one patient for the month, and a great write-up and picture of her came out in the home care’s newspaper, and no one who knows her was a bit surprised.
So you see, that which seemed to be such an awful plight proved to be a wonderful blessing! Treasures of darkness came forth as they were freed from the prisons of their souls wherein they were held captive. The initiation of it all was with an earthquake in Ella’s kitchen and then a time of confinement in her prison of the Casa Arena Blanca nursing home. It was clear later on; but it neither came to her mind nor ours at the onset that, "For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion: in the secret of His tabernacle shall He hide me; He shall set me up upon a rock." Psalm 27:5. And that is exactly what He did! Praise God!
Elwin R. Roach
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