The Strait Gate, Part 2


February 15, 2019


We ran a bit long last week, and we may run a bit long again this week, but I want to share as much of this revelation with you as I can in the shortest amount of time.


We wrapped up last week by saying that Jesus does make requirements for healing, for health, for life, for receiving from Him.  The first and most basic is, faith.  The second and equally basic is, relationship with Him.  Not religion.  Not attending church.  Not agreeing with certain doctrines.  Not meeting a set of standards required by a committee of Christians.   It is relationship!  Relationship!  Relationship!


 The gifts of healing, health, life, wholeness, being raised from the dead, provisions, etc., all come as a matter of wooing us to a place of deeper relationship, unity and oneness with Him as His counterpart, His Other Self.  In fact, we can say that these are a dowry given to us as a foretaste of the permanent change of our nature, character and makeup (our new onoma in Him).  In our places of public ministry, this is a perspective which often gets lost in the "doing."  The gifts become the objective.  The healing becomes an objective.  Provision for our natural needs becomes the objective.   Jesus Christ our Bridegroom, and His heart's desire and purposes get shuttled aside -- and we rarely are aware that we are the ones shuttling that desire aside!


There is a picture that is worth taking a look at in Revelation 3:7-13 (and bear with me for a moment. I’ve shared this picture with you in the past few months, but there is a part of it that bears repeating.)  The seven letters, as you know, are addressed to the seven Ekklesias, and represent a single letter to the Bride.  The message to the Bride is the overcoming of the seven spirits (exemplified in the seven nations which occupied Canaan) or ruling principalities which comprise the nature of the Beast (seen throughout Revelation) and are the counterfeit for the Seven Spirits of God.  (Anyway, that's a separate study that I can't take the time to delve into in this discussion but will share at a later date.)


Without getting into all of the areas of overcoming identified in this particular letter, the message to the Ekklesia in Philadelphia is "I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it..."  The “open door” is identified with the “key of David.” 


The phrase, “the key of David,” is a very well identified Hebrew metaphor which means, “the power and authority of David,” and represents the authority to access all that is within.  The authority represented by this key is that He who holds the key, "openeth and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth."  The key of David also has another very specific application: the tabernacle of David.


For reasons that seem to escape me, God's people have not learned the lesson of David’s Tabernacle.  More than that, those who have served in places of responsibility and leadership seem to think that it’s okay to call their hymn-singing, song-singing, scripture-choruses and preaching, "worship."  It is not worship!  Then they wonder why there is such a struggle to see things happen.  They wonder why there is no provision of God.  They wonder where the miracles went.  They wonder why there is such "backsliding" among the people and why people's relationship with God is like a yo-yo.


The reason is because their priority is "ministry to the people," instead of "ministry to the Lord."  The clearly drawn picture in scripture is the priority of ministering to the Lord.  If those who serve in places of leadership can come to the realization that the only thing which counts is ministry to the Lord, they will soon see that as they minister to Him and live in His presence (and set aside their "need" to minister to others) the Lord will go forth as a Bridegroom eagerly desiring to provide all that His Bride needs. 


Ministry will go forth, but in a totally different dimension by the Spirit.  People will see their need (because the Holy Spirit reveals it to them) for deliverance -- and experience it!  God's people will experience salvation in a way that can never happen with the traditional altar call.  They will see truth revealed in their inner beings, being taught by the Holy Spirit -- even if they have never read the Bible!  The Holy Spirit will be poured out on a people, sovereignly -- but it will not happen like this unless leaders can lay down their titles, their books of learning, their positions, their "responsibilities to the people," and their preconceived ideas of how the Lord wants to do things — all predicated on having eaten from the "Tree of Knowledge".


Once again, I must reiterate: this will only come by living in His presence, living in worship, living in a place where worship goes forth from and in one's spirit 24 hours per day!  There is no other way!  There is no substitute!


Jesus makes this abundantly clear when He says, "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."  (Matthew 7:13-14 KJV)


The word, "strait," in the Greek text is stenos, a word which is a direct translation (by the Septuagint translators) for the Hebrew word, tsar.  It means: "to be narrow, constricted, compressed," hence, "a difficult place, a place of affliction."  Strong, is his Greek dictionary, suggests that stenos may be derived from histemi, in the sense of "obstacles standing in the way."  In any event, the Hebrew word, tsar, also was used by the Septuagint translators to give birth to the Greek word, thlipsis, which is translated: "tribulation," or "affliction," in the English versions.


The picture is obvious.  The "strait gate," which leads to life, is the gate of worship.  One does not come through this gate with all of the trappings of ministry, doctrines, or whatever.  If it were easy, everyone would be able to come through without difficulty. 


The "obstacles standing in the way" of those who consider entrance are the obstacles of ministry, the obstacles of society, the obstacles of position, the obstacles of responsibility, the obstacles of doctrinal understanding, etc.  One must be willing to drop everything to get by those obstacles in order to enter the strait gate.  One must be willing to endure the affliction and tribulation brought on by well-meaning, but ignorant, brethren who do not see the life that is available on the other side of the gate of worship, who only see "the needs of the multitudes" and not the relationship available with the Bridegroom, who is the source of provision for all those needs.


There is one other aspect of this that is of great concern to brethren who consider the prospect of walking away from their "ministries" -- especially those who have lived off of "tithes and offerings."  I don't want to get into a discussion on tithes and offerings other than to simply say that it is no different from someone who walks away from a conventional job and salary in response to the beckoning of the Lord.  One must be able to respond to the Lord without regard for one's income.  The moment that our income -- whether it be from the tithes and offerings of people who give, or from a weekly paycheck on some job -- becomes a stumbling block to our obedience, or a reason to not respond, it has just become idolatry, no matter how logical our reasoning process.  It becomes the lord of our life because we choose to eat from the "Tree of Knowledge." 


That this is eating from the Tree of Knowledge is evident because we make our judgment based on the fact that it is "good" to provide for our families, and that it is "evil" to become a burden to society -- that it is "evil" not to look to the future for our daily needs.


This is a terrible trap, and a lie of the "Beast."  What makes it a lie is the fact that while it is "good" to provide for our families, etc., it essentially adopts the position that God is incapable of directing our foot-steps in such a manner as to provide for us, and that "God helps those who help themselves."  It is imperative that we remember that when in the Holy of Holies, He is our provision -- PERIOD!  He does not want our help.  He does not want us reasoning how we will provide for ourselves.  The only thing He desires from us is our responsiveness to Him!  NOTHING ELSE!  This requires some walking out of His Word to us and will most certainly bring thlipsis as we allow Him to re-order our priorities -- including what we think is necessary to live!


There is another aspect of this which deserves consideration.  In Hebrews 6 -- and we are all familiar with this picture -- the apostle Paul (we assume him to be the author) states, "Therefore, leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.  And this will we do, if God permit......"


This statement has staggered many because they are caught in the Outer Court, or in the Holy Place.  Simply put, we are told to lay aside our doctrines of salvation, all of our foundational truths, our doctrines of  baptisms in water and in the Holy Spirit, the realm of the supernatural, miracles, and raising the dead, and -- wonder of wonders -- our end-time doctrines (this is the essence of the doctrine of eternal judgment), and go on to the "finishing!"  The word, "perfection," in the Greek text is teleios.  This word means: to be fully completed, to be finished, to be full grown.


When we take into consideration the fact that Jesus' purpose was not just to come and save people from sin; that He did not come to take people to heaven; that He came to get for Himself a finished Bride -- a Bride who would be His counterpart, a fully complete Bride who reflects Him in every aspect -- the statement in  Hebrews 6 takes on a different picture. 


Salvation is not an objective -- it is only the first stone in the foundation!  Baptisms in water and in the Holy Spirit are not a goal -- they are only pieces of the foundation.  The realm of miracles experienced in the laying on of hands is not a measure of spiritual attainment -- it is a tiny microcosm of the whole picture.  Raising the dead is not a goal -- it is only one of the aspects of Jesus' ministry, and a natural part of being in Him!  Eternal judgment, and the scope of events in the end times, certainly is not a goal or objective in Him!  It is only a picture of that which happens at the end of certain earthly events.  It is not even a picture of the end of things in Christ, but rather is a precursor to the beginning of a whole new dimension! 


These truths are not invalidated by leaving them!  They are simply put where they are supposed to be -- at the bottom, as the foundation!  They are not even the building!  They only serve to lay the necessary preparation so we can be "permitted" to "go on to the completing or finishing" that our Bridegroom desires.


The statement in verse 3, "if God permit," is even stronger in the Greek text, and makes abundantly clear the fact that He will not permit us to go on if we cannot lay down our doctrines of salvation, baptism, miracles, end-time doctrines, etc.  They must cease to be a focus of attention, or even a topic of discussion on a regular basis.  The reason He will not permit us to go on "to the finishing" is because this is a call into the Holy of Holies.  This is a call into His presence!  This is a call to come beyond the Outer Court and the Holy Place, where all of these foundation stones were laid.  There are none of these doctrines in the Holy of Holies, nor is there a need for them.  He makes very clear in verses 4 - 8 why He will not permit us to come into the Holy of Holies if we do not lay down these doctrines.


Paul states that it is impossible to be renewed again to repentance once we have tasted and experienced the reality of living in Him, once we have experienced being One with the Holy Spirit, once we have experienced the dimension of the works of power and authority of the age to come, and then......parapesontas... deliberately walk back out into the Holy Place.  He clearly states that we cannot be renewed to a place of repentance once we have walked back out into the Holy Place, and then later, be again called to live in His presence in the Holy of Holies. 


This is not repentance from dead works, nor are we talking about a salvation experience.  He likens it to crucifying the Lord Jesus Christ once again.  This is a specific metaphor which describes nullifying His death on the cross.  The essence of this is that by our action in deliberately returning to the Holy Place realm, we turn back to the Tree of Knowledge, to which He laid the ax with His death on the cross.  We, in effect, say to Him, "We prefer the Tree of Knowledge to the Tree of Life.  We would prefer to live in a realm where we can discern what is good, and what is evil, and make our own judgments."


There will obviously be those who will question how I have arrived at this understanding, so let me hasten to clarify things.  Salvation comes first as a revelation to us by the Spirit of the Lord.  It becomes life in us by our responding to the Holy Spirit. Baptism in water comes first as a revelation by the Holy Spirit within us -- even if we receive that revelation by reading certain scriptures on water baptism -- but it does not become life until we respond. 


By the same token, for most people (and I know there are exceptions to this) baptism in the Holy Spirit comes first as the Holy Spirit reveals the need and necessity of our living and operating in this realm.  It becomes a reality -- a fact of life -- however, only when we yield to the Spirit in direct response.  The same holds true for the "laying on of hands," which we equate with the realm of miracles, the raising of the dead, and the preparation for what has been generally referred to as "end times."  All of these things begin in us by a revelation of the Spirit.  They are real!  They are valid!  They become a dimension of absolutely stunning and exciting life when we respond to that which the Holy Spirit directs us -- either to do or to say.


Again, we have to stop here.  We should be able to finish this next week.


 In case you are missing out on real fellowship in an environment of Ekklesia, our Sunday worship gatherings are available by conference call – usually at about 10:30AM Pacific.  That conference number is (712) 770-4160, and the access code is 308640#.  We are now making these gatherings available on video using ZOOM.  If you wish to participate by video on ZOOM, our login ID is 835-926-513.  If you miss the live voice-only call, you can dial (712) 770-4169, enter the same access code and listen in later.  The video call, of course, is not recorded – not yet, anyway.


Blessings on you!



Regner A. Capener

Temple, Texas 76504

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