|~ Part 7|
Our God Consciousnes & Our Self-Conscience
The Reins the Lord Will Search in All the Churches
BURIED IN THE MIDDLE OF REVELATIONS 2:23 IS A PROVOCATIVE statement from the Lord Jesus. It is part of His Letter to the angel of the church in Thyatira, one of seven Letters He dictated to the Apostle John on the Isle of Patmos. To Bible translators ofthis statement did not merit a whole verse by itself, yet it is one of the most significant things the Lord ever said, especially for us upon whom the end of the age is come. Like other statements of His, it is often ignored, maybe because it is difficult to comprehend. With no explanation, He said, . . .and all the churches shall know that I am He which searcheth the reins and hearts....
What makes this statement unusual is his mention of the reins. This is from the Greek nephrós and occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It means "kidneys" and nothing more. We are accustomed to speaking of the heart which He also mentions. Even though it is an organ of our physical being, we also think of it as the inner part of one’s soul. But what about the kidneys? Why should they take the attention of the Lord Jesus to the extent that all the churches will know He is searching them. If, like the heart, they designate a part of our inner man, what is that part? Where are they, and what are they that they should take His attention, especially in the latter day—and in all the churches?
We must be careful not to accept the weak interpretation that reins simply means the "mind" or "thoughts," as do most modem translations of Scripture. It is of much more significant meaning than that. And it means more than the seat of the emotions as some interpreters suggest.
Our reins, or kidneys, are the two organs in our abdominal cavity that work to separate water and the waste products of metabolism from our blood. They remove impurity from our blood as it flows through our body to keep physical life going. One who suffers with malfunctioning kidneys suffers in all areas of life, for the life of the flesh is in the blood (Lev 17:11). Kidneys that do not function allow poison to remain in the blood and, thus, endanger one’s life.
Some time ago I found a written prophetic word delivered in some church somewhere, that addressed this matter of the reins. It gave an interpretation that I believe is accurate. It said the reins of our inner man, two in number just, as with our physical kidneys, are our "God-consciousness" and our "self-conscience." We can speak of them as our "God-awareness" and our "self-awareness."
When we know Who He is and where He is in us—our "God awareness," and when we know who we are and where we are in Him—our "self awareness," then no poison of life can remain in us. Our reins, made whole and set to functioning by God’s grace and power, will remove that poison. Then all that comes upon us will but enhance our living and make us richer in His Kingdom. Even our deepest distress will become a sanctified thing in us.
Early, in the Garden of Eden itself, that old serpent, which is the Devil, attacked the God-consciousness and the self-conscience in our early Parents. He set up in them a malfunction that has plagued us till now. Can we not believe all that he corrupted and stole from Adam’s race will be restored by one Man, Jesus Christ (Rom 5:15)—with yet more than our Parents lost?
BEFORE WE CONSIDER SPECIFICALLY MORE ABOUT THE REINS, let us take a brief look at the entire Letter in which the Lord spoke of them. There are things in it that point, very significantly, to the closing of this age. Thus, the impact of the whole letter reaches for us. There are those who have decided that the Seven Letters to the Seven Churches of Rev 2 and 3 represent seven stages through which the church has passed over the centuries as the age draws on to its end. This being the case, there would be nothing in this particular letter that would apply to us. But there is little to confirm that interpretation. On the other hand, there is much to indicate that the whole of Rev 2 and 3 belongs to the church of all ages, and particularly as it finds its relation to the Day of the Lord. In other words, these letters have always had bearing on the church but will have even more so as the Day of the Lord draws close. Like many of the words of the Prophets, they shoot like an arrow toward that Day but cast their shadow on all the days before.
ONLY IN THIS LETTER CAN WE FIND THE WORD REINS, from the Greek nephrós, in the New Testament. Its Hebrew counterpart, however, occurs quite significantly in the Old Testament. This becomes informative to us. There are certain men of the Old Covenant into whom God worked an unusual grace, and purpose, by searching their reins. As we listen to them, we begin discovering what will go into the latter day searching work of the Lord Jesus in the church. There is Moses, then Job, then David, then Jeremiah. They were all men who reached toward our day with a powerful word for us, some of it with high Covenant impact, especially that from David.
The word from Moses—although it comes to us in type for he spoke of the kidneys rather than the reins—gives insight as to the requirement that they be offered unto the Lord God in sacrifice. I think we can say the word from Job is insightful as a Teacher and is ready to release its instruction and faith in us. The Word from David is from one with whom the Lord made a Covenant. What we find with regard to the reins in his writing is covenantal and ready to release its power in us. The word from Jeremiah is prophetic and ready to release its light in us from out of the ages as well as its insight into our inner man.
The grace and life that unfolds from these men regarding our reins can flow over our spirits to heal us. The Holy Spirit will help us in this as we see what can and will take place in this marvelous part of our inner man.
In Ex 17 after Moses led the people out of Egypt, we have the record of a classic time of searching that came upon their "God-consciousness" and upon their "self-conscience." Although the word reins is not used in this passage, we see this was the area of Israel’s weakness. They did not know Who and where God was in their midst, and they did not know who and where they were in Him. They came to Rephidim where there was no water for the people to drink (Ex 17:10). What a place! They came there at the commandment of God and He forsook them—or so they were quick to conclude. They murmured against Moses and tempted the Lord. Doing this, they proved their reins held an imperfection that must be removed if they as a nation were to become God’s light to the Gentiles.
In their imperfection they could trust God only when they could see His provision at hand. Because impossibility closed in upon them, they fell into despair and distrust of Him. Even though they saw God’s miracles at the Red Sea (Ex 14:26.31), when He made the bitter water sweet (15:23-26), and when He provided manna in the wilderness (16:4-15), something within them refused to trust Him implicitly and know Him intimately. Their reins, clogged by years of bondage and oppression in Egypt, could not handle the "poison" of a circumstance where there was no water. They took to murmuring because they were unable to know Who and where God was in relationship to them and who they were and where they were in relationship with Him.
This is a condition that cannot exist in those who will inherit the Kingdom with Christ. Anyone who will walk in the path of His ordination, especially in the closing days, will face circumstances like Rephidim time and again. Unless our reins have been put to the test and proved worthy of His Kingdom, we too will fall into murmuring and complaining, and thus, miss His greater purpose for us.
Although it does not become apparent that Moses ever spoke of the reins as did Job, David and Jeremiah, he did speak of the kidneys. In this he used the same Hebrew word the other men used in their writings to speak of the reins. His first reference to kidneys was in Ex 29:13 as he gave instruction for the consecration of the Priests. This first of all the offerings was a Sin Offering for them who would represent the people before the Lord God. The Law made men priests who had infirmity, therefore they must first offer for their own sin before they could offer an atonement for the people—Heb 2:27,28. Moses said of them, And thou shalt take all the fat that covereth the inwards, and the caul that is above the liver and the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, and burn them upon the altar.
This burnt sin offering came from a bullock upon whose head the priests had laid their hands. When they did this, they identified themselves with that sacrificial animal and confessed they deserved to die for their own sin. It was an expression of their desire that the killing of the beast in front of them might appease God for their guilt. The offering was then burned without the camp as it pointed to the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Who bore our sin in His Own body without the camp—I Pet 2:24 and Heb 13:11,13.
It is significant that in the first sacrificial offering of Ex 29, and in all the offerings that followed, the kidneys were the only internal organs designated as part of the sacrifice. There was no mention that other organs be offered. The heart, the lungs, the liver, the spleen, the stomach were all organs vital in the ongoing of a healthy life, yet they held no significance in any offerings that pointed to our redemption. Only the kidneys were ever specified. They were the reins of the animal with which a sinner before the altar identified.
FROM JOB WE LEARN THAT, EARLY ON, THE REINS WERE considered an important part of the inner man, as much as the mind, the emotions, or the will. He shows how they may become tilled and shredded till there is no point of God consciousness or self-conscience left untouched. In one of his outcries while he was still seeking to defend himself against religious friends, he decided God had set him up for a target. He said, His archers compass me round about, He cleaveth my reins asunder, and doth not spare… Job 16:13.
Cleaveth means to split and tear apart until there is no identification left upon what once was. It is like the breaking up of fallow ground to make it ready for a new crop. The plow cuts its furrow deep and turns over everything that once grew green, turning it into the enrichment of the soil for something new to grow.
We’ve seen this in our own lives. Almost daily we watch it in the lives of others. In some things big, and in some things small, we watch while the plows of circumstance, and disappointment, and betrayal, and tragedy, and accident, and, sometimes, even satanic intrusion cleave asunder reins and send souls reeling. We have watched God’s hand enough to know there is no cleaving experience in the life of any who know the Kingdom of Heaven but that it will advance them in that Kingdom and make their life richer indeed for the enjoyment and wealth of the Kingdom. We learn not to fear the plowing of our reins any more than the soil should fear the intrusion of the plow, no matter who wields the plow.
Once our reins have been tilled and shredded by the cleaving of some "plow," we find they can hold a hope, like the hope of plowed ground. It reaches beyond the reality of anything present or known by human reason. In one of the most amazing statements early man ever uttered, Job made the following confession. For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold and not another ("not as a stranger"); though my reins be consumed within me—Job 19:25-27. The marginal reading of my Bible reads this last part thus: "My reins within me are consumed with earnest desire for that day."
Our reins, when cleaved, then brought into order by God, reach through all darkness with a knowledge that disregards the conclusions our troubled souls would impose upon us. Job lost the strength and encouragement that should have come from brethren, acquaintances, kinsfolk, familiar friends, maids and servants, even his own wife. (See 19:13-17.) With nothing else for which to live, something arose within him that sustained him. It was a knowledge that his Redeemer was living, that He would stand upon the earth at the latter day, that he would see him in his flesh and know Him intimately and personally. His reins reached for and longed for this day to the extent that they were consumed with desire for it.
How do we respond today? We begin to long for that day when our Redeemer shall stand upon the earth and we shall know Him intimately and not as a stranger.
this month's PRAYER STARTER and see how
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