This article is an extraction from the book “The Mystical Journey of the church written by Mordecai and Catherine Uka Dike
According to the scriptures, there are three stages in our spiritual growth in this mortal age. Our Lord Jesus Christ in one of His parables teaches us that the Kingdom of God is like a farmer who scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, while he’s asleep or awake, the seed sprouts and grows, but he does not understand how it happens, the earth produces the crops on its own. First, a leaf blade pushes through, then the heads of wheat are formed, and finally the grain ripens. Moreover, as soon as the grain is ready, the farmer comes and harvests it with a sickle, for the harvest time has come (Mark4:26-29). When a seed has been planted on the earth, the first thing that will happen is that the seed will die…
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit (John12:24).
When a planted grain seed is about to germinate, the first thing that will appear on the earth’s surface is the leaf blade, followed by the heads of wheat and then the ripened grain, and after that the harvest. These stages of growth illustrate the three dimensions of Christ’s life as discussed in the previous page, to make it more understandable let’s read from the following scripture…
I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you for His name's sake. I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one I have written to you, children, because you know the Father. I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one (1John2:12-14).
In this scripture, St. John mentions three categories of people in the church, which includes the little children, the young men and the fathers.
The Little Children – are babes in Christ who have just received justification. They envision God as a “Santa Clause” in whom they make their material demands without having a sense of purpose in Christ. Their prayers focus on material blessings. We should understand that spiritual maturity does not depend on how many years someone has been in a ministry or one’s natural age, and it does not matter how intelligent or eloquent a person is or how long he or she’ve been teaching the word of God. To make it very clear, most pastors, evangelists, prophets, apostles, Bishops, Archbishops, cardinals, primates, etc, are still among the babies in Christ.
The Young men - are those Believers who have received justification and sanctification and get caught up with zeal for the work of ministry without having an accurate knowledge of the kingdom of God. The consciousness of the young men is only about the work of ministry and going to heaven.
The Fathers - are those who have been justified, sanctified and now going through the process of total purification of the inward man with the hope of glorification of the outward man. The fathers are no longer ministry and mortal blessings conscious but their focus is on the total conformity to the image of Jesus Christ. The fathers have seen Christ and they are now seeking to walk perfectly like Christ on earth so that they can bring many sons unto glory, not to gather crowd.
Another way we can gain more insight about our spiritual growth is to compare the three stages of spiritual growth with the outer court, the holy place and the holy of holies. The Old Testament tabernacle foreshadows the New Testament temple of God, which is us; our Spirit, Soul and Body have been taken to the place of the three courts of the Old Testament tabernacle. The Outer court, the Holy place and the Holy of Holies also speaks of three different church orders; there is an outer court church, the Holy place church and Holy of holies Church. The outer court church represents a “God bless me” mentality kind of Christianity, in the outer court church everyone is welcome, repentance or no repentance, this is the category where the Roman Catholic and orthodox churches belong. The Holy place church is the “preaching in the pulpit” mentality kind of Christianity, a church where people consider entering into the ministerial offices as the highest level of growth in Christ, this is represented by the Evangelical, Pentecostal and Charismatic circle. The Holy of Holies church is the realm of sinless perfection and immortality in Christ. There is just a remnant of believers that are pursuing this realm of life without thinking about belonging to any religious church organization or forming any religious group. Their mind is set only to run the race and become like Christ in nature and in character, showing love to all men without segregation.We have to understand that God is no longer interested in the outer court and the Holy place church. The Ark of salvation is in the Holy of Holies, so for us to be saved in these last days we must leave the outer courts and enter into the holy of holies….
And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months (Revelation11:1-2)
The Measuring Rod - the measuring rod represents the life of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the standard of God and our role model. When God presented Jesus Christ and said this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (Mathew3:17), God is telling us that Christ’s standard of righteousness is what He wants from us, anyone who falls below God’s standard of holiness will not be accepted in the presence of God. We the church as the temple of God are made to conform to the image of Christ (Romans8:29). Taking Over By the Gentiles - As we can see today, the structure that we call the church has been taken over by the gentiles (unbelievers) and sin has dominated the structure we call the church. It is time for the believers to run into the Holy of Holies, which represents a dimension where we can come face to face with Christ without any pastor or bishop acting as a mediator between God and us. Every Christian must develop a deep personal intimacy with Christ and the eyes of our heart must focus on sinless perfection and immortality of the outward man, this is the only way that we can enforce our total victory over sin and death. Jesus says, When we therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand :) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house:(Mathew24:15-17)
It is important for us to know that this abomination already stands in the holy place spiritually; it is now only the holy of holiness that is safe. As mentioned earlier, The Old Testament tabernacle represents the New Testament temple of God. The Outer court in the Old Testament tabernacle represents our mortal body, the middle court, which is the Holy Place, represents our soul, while Holy of Holies foreshadows our spirit man where the Spirit of the Lord dwells and bears witness that we are the sons of God( Romans8:16). We should also remember that the outer court represents the court of congregation, and the holy place is court of the leaders, while the Holy of Holies is the court of the set man “the overseer”. The prophecy of Daniel spiritually means that, when we see in the church that selfish ambition or corruption has replaced leadership, the believers should run fast to the mountains. Mountain in this context entails a private place of prayer and meditation, a place where one can seek the face of God directly on his or her own on a daily basis. Right now, that is exactly where the Lord is calling us; it is time to be totally separated from the organized religions and the denominational system of Church where men are trying to take the place of Christ. Some of the acclaimed present churches leaders have taken away the key to knowledge. They themselves have not entered, and they have hindered those who were entering (Luke11:52). Believers should look beyond pastors and bishops in respect and fix their eyes on Christ. In order to be perfected, we should always bear in mind that Christ is coming back to receive a glorious perfect individual saints not groups.