KEYWORDS: lord, god, book, love, bell, pride

Bell, Book and Candle

David Berg

MO February, 1973 NO.203—GP

P.O.Box 31, London WC2E 7XL, England or GPO Box 3141‚ San Juan, Puerto Rico 00936.

(Revelations received when praying for a certain young man like the rich young ruler of Mark 10:17–27.—Or like you?)

1. IN EITHER CASE IT'S PRIDE. To want to be a eunuch like Paul—that's a real pride trip. And on the other hand, if he refuses to marry because of fear of failure, that's pride too. I think it's a little bit of both.

2. (DAVID PRAYS FOR HIM WITH HIS UNDERSTANDING, THEN IN THE SPIRIT, after which he pauses in meditation a few moments, then says:) I never had an experience quite like that before. It's just as though all of a sudden I saw him standing there speaking to me, and yet the words came through me as he was saying them—they were his words and thoughts. Even while I was praying in English it began to come that way, and I almost had to fight it to keep from saying the words.

3. HE SAYS: "I KNOW THAT SHE LOVES ME FOR MYSELF IN A SACRIFICIAL WAY FOR YOUR SAKE‚ DAVID, AND BECAUSE SHE LOVES THE LORD." And then I didn't quite get all the rest, but the idea was... "That's why I feel I don't really deserve her"—Like it's unfair to her. It's as though he's trying to say... Amen, thank you Jesus! (Tongues) "Give the thoughts unto Thy Servant David and give me the words that I may give to this one for Thee."

4. THE WHOLE FEELING WAS: "SHE LOVES ME IN SUCH AN UNSELFISH AND SACRIFICIAL WAY THAT I FEEL SO UNWORTHY it makes me feel selfish to receive such love. And therefore I'm ashamed to receive it." It's as though by loving him you put him to shame. And you see, that has something to do with pride. Shame is the opposite of pride—a humiliation and humbling—and because it makes him feel so ashamed, his pride keeps him from accepting it.

5. AS I LOOK AT HIM AND SEE HIM, AND AS HE'S TRYING TO COMMUNICATE WITH ME—really with the Lord—I'm just the Lord's representative—he wants you to know how he feels‚ yet he has a difficult time telling you. It's almost as though he's hoping and praying right now that I will help to explain it to you, that the Lord will give you the answer. And He is! Thank you Lord!

6. HIS PRIDE AND HIS BACKGROUND TELL HIM HE'S TOO GOOD FOR YOU. He fears the opinions of his family and men—that also makes him a little ashamed that he should be in love with someone of whom he knows so little. He doesn't know you in the traditional way he should, and he feels ashamed that he loves you so much, and he knows his family doesn't approve. So, in a way he's a little ashamed of you before them, in some respects. But in a way, it's really like he's ashamed of himself in front of them because of his love for you which is not according to their traditions. It's a break with convention.

7. AND YET HE HIMSELF, DEEPER THAN THAT, IN ALL HONESTY WITHIN HIMSELF, IS MORE ASHAMED OF HIMSELF‚ because he knows your love is more pure and more unselfish and more sacrificial than his. In the eyes of his relatives he is ashamed, because it looks like he is the one that is making the sacrifice, so he is ashamed on both scores. In other words, it humbles him both ways. Their opinions humble him before them, but the truth humbles him before you.

8. LORD‚ YOU PROMISED THY KISS SHOULD FREE THIS SON OF DAVID—her kiss should free this son of David!

9. IT'S AS THOUGH HE KNOWS YOU'RE THE ONLY ONE THAT CAN RESCUE HIM. He knows that his only hope lies in your kiss of freedom, so to speak, and yet he is ashamed both from the standpoint of pride, and of truth, to accept it, because it is extremely humbling and humiliating to receive it. And then there's that Catholic feeling of the need to do penance‚ the need to suffer, the need to sacrifice, almost like a need for tragedy, a need for catharsis, the purification of suffering. It's as though he feels like he has to suffer, he deserves to suffer, that it's all too good for him and too much for him, and it would almost be better to suffer.

10. THERE'S AN ELEMENT OF SINCERITY‚ a measure of genuine sincerity in his desire to be devoted to the Lord. He would like to be devoted to the Lord enough to give up such things. That's his ideal—to be utterly and totally devoted to the Lord without distraction, like a priest. But on the other hand, he knows he hasn't been, and isn't able to be, and can't be. And so he's ashamed of that, too. And in his pride he has a hard time confessing these things, even to himself. So his letter was quite a step in humbling himself enough to confess he really loved you and was considering marriage, as though it was settled as far as he was concerned.

11. LORD, HE'S TORN BETWEEN HIS PRIDE AND HIS LOVE—Thy love and her love.... With man it is impossible. With God, nothing shall be impossible!

12. I SEE A GREAT VINEYARD BASKING IN WARM GOLDEN SUNSHINE. Just like that bright golden sun that I see, the Lord is able to chase all of his shadows away—all of his doubts and fears and lies of the Enemy, and bring, as it were‚ warmth and fertility to the bosom of the earth that it may bear fruit—many vines and many branches‚ much fruit. So beautiful!—A beautiful vineyard—all those ripening grapes—that golden soil—and beautiful golden sunshine! Just like the Lord is the sun and we're His vineyard, and He's able to shine on us and chase away all the shadows and doubts and fears and the cold, and warm the bosom of our earth so we bring forth fruit—Our bosom, our fruit, His sun.

13. AND YET IT WAS A STRANGE THING: IT WAS IN A WAY AS THOUGH THIS YOUNG MAN WAS ALSO REPRESENTING THE SUN, AND THE EARTH WAS YOU, but it was taking the power of God in him—the light of the Lord—to cause him to shine and expose himself and shine on you so that you should be warmed and receive seed and bring forth fruit. The whole idea is—it is going to take the Lord. God is able to warm his heart and cause him to be like the white heat of the sun‚ clear and enlightening and warm and bright, pure, hiding nothing; which, when he does, will apparently warm your heart. But that the Lord has to do, and we have to let Him, and only God can do it. "I can indeed give him a new heart and I can make him a new man such as thou hast not seen, because of the love of David."

14. SO IT'S ENTIRELY UP TO THE LORD, It's almost as though you're sort of to leave it in the Lord's hand, and this one who loves you I think is trying to do the same thing and really hoping that God Himself will do the miracle and relieve and release him and give him the courage and strength he needs, because he knows he just hasn't got it right now.

15. I BELIEVE HE REALLY DOES WANT THE LORD'S WILL and is really praying for it, but he knows he doesn't have the strength it takes. It's the old battle between grace and works. There's that strong thing in him that tells him it must be in his own strength, yet he knows he hasn't got it. But he needs the faith to believe and know the Lord has to do it.

16. THAT LACK OF POWER IS THE RESULT OF FEAR BORN OF PRIDE:—fear of not succeeding‚ fear of being embarrassed, fear of being ashamed. Such fear always comes as the result of pride, because the proud are afraid of failure. The rich and the powerful are the most fearful people in the world. Solomon said that labouring man (the poor and the humble) lieth down and his sleep is sweet, but the rich (or the proud) cannot sleep for the abundance of their riches. The rich are always worrying about their riches, and the powerful are always worrying about their power. Like the King showed Damocles how it was to be a King with a sword dangling above his head by a hair!

17. THERE IS NO REST IN PRIDE. THE PROUD ARE ALWAYS AFRAID. But there's perfect rest in humility, because humility has love and faith without fear. Pride causes fear of failure‚ and therefore actually causes failure. Pride causes fear of failure, and then the fear makes you weak, or impotent, so that you do fail.—You don't have enough power. The very fact that you're afraid you'll fail ensures your failure, because only faith succeeds.

18. FEAR IS THE OPPOSITE OF FAITH, AND WITHOUT FAITH YOU CAN HAVE NO POWER. The impotent do not have enough spirit or power, because they're holding back and not willing to give all. They're not willing to lie stripped before their Lord and let Him empower them. You have to have faith in God's love in order to obey and come, and strip off the outer garments of appearances, coverups, and false fronts‚ and expose yourself to the Lord, totally yielding yourself to Him in submission and humility.

19. THEN, IF YOU DO YOUR PART THE LORD WILL DO HIS, and inspire you, or fill you, with His Spirit, so you can bear fruit. Spirit, spire‚ inspire, inspiration and spirt all come from the same root word! The spire of His inspiration causes a spiritual orgasm which fills you with His Spirit in spirts of the seed of the Word of God, which, when conceived in responsive hearts‚ brings forth fruit, newborn babes into the Kingdom of God! His Spirit cures both impotency and frigidity in His Bride, and gives her the strength to conceive from the seeds of His Word, and bear children unto God—The Children of God! Hallelujah!

20. HE'S WEAK BECAUSE, IN HIS PRIDE, HE'S TRYING TO DO THINGS IN THE ENERGY OF HIS OWN FLESH instead of trusting God for God's grace for God to do it. And the reason he hasn't got the faith and can't believe God for sufficient strength is because he knows he's not yielded yet—most of all his pride. His property is nothing compared to his pride. But when the day comes that he's ready to yield his pride to the Lord, then the Lord can give him what he needs in every area. But he still has a lot of pride, and he's not fully obeying the Lord, and you can't have faith for God to bless you when you know you're not obeying Him. How can God bless disobedience?

21. HE'S MUCH LIKE THE RICH YOUNG RULER who came running to Jesus and kneeling said: "Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?" Notice how he emphasises goodness‚ his own righteousness, seeking salvation by his own good works and his own proud self-righteousness. You'll find the story in Matthew 19, Mark 10 and Luke 18. But Jesus rebukes him for calling anyone good but God, a gentle chiding of his self–piety, and then tells him he must keep the commandments. Oddly enough, he asks, "Which?"‚ apparently having gotten the point that he might not be so good after all, and hoping he had kept the right ones necessary for salvation!

22. SO JESUS QUOTES ONLY ABOUT HALF OF THEM‚ those which forbid what most people consider the very worst sins, and which Jesus evidently already knew that this good young man would of course, have probably kept; and the young man, with obvious relief, heartily boasts that he has kept these. But Jesus is leading him on, carefully avoiding the commandments which He apparently knows the young man has not kept quite so well, such as: "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image...Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them....and, Thou shalt not covet", and the one which Jesus Himself said was the greatest of all: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart"!

23. LIKE SO MANY OF THE RIGHTEOUS TODAY, THE YOUNG MAN SINCERELY ASKS, "WHAT LACK I YET?"—I'm so good, yet why am I not happy, why am I not satisfied, why do I feel uneasy about the future? Why don't my things and possessions and position bring me contentment and rest of spirit? Jesus had first been drawing him out to reveal his greatest sin of spiritual pride. Now Jesus puts him to the test that reveals his carnal weakness: Will he be willing to give up the things that he covets‚ the other gods that he worships, the images to whom he bows—his riches, his position, the opinions of men, his idolatry of covetousness?

24. KNOWING THE STRUGGLE AND THE SAD DECISION HIS WORDS WERE TO BRING in the young man's heart, Jesus looks on him with compassion and love and tells him he lacks but one thing, and asks him to make the most difficult decision of his life: "Go and sell all that you have and give it to the poor‚ and come, take up the cross and follow Me, and thou shalt have treasure in Heaven!" But when the young man heard this‚ he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions! So Jesus turned to His disciples and said, "How hard it is for the rich to enter into the Kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through "The Needle's Eye"!—This was a very small gate in the wall of Jerusalem through which camels had to crawl on their knees, pushed and shoved and pulled and dragged by their drivers, and shrieking with pain at the tops of their voices in stubborn protest! What a picture!

25. WHEN HIS DISCIPLES HEARD THIS, THEY WERE AMAZED and said "Who then can be saved?" In their day, as today, the rich were the most religious and self-righteous Pharisees; so they must have figured, if such good rich church members would have such a hard time, what chance did the poor publicans and sinners have? And Jesus acknowledged that it was impossible for anyone to be saved without the miracle-working power of God!—"With man it is impossible, but with God all things are possible!" Hallelujah!

26. THE SADDEST THING ABOUT THIS WHOLE EXPERIENCE WAS THAT THIS YOUNG MAN'S RICHES HAD NEVER BROUGHT HIM HAPPINESS OR SATISFACTION, or he would not have come running to Jesus begging for an answer to his misery! Yet when Jesus gave him the answer to life‚ and love, and happiness in forsaking all for Jesus and others, he went away still full of the sorrows that riches bring, he still went back to his riches which had never satisfied, and rich as he was, he was still unable to pay the price of the joy of giving all!—Which of course, shows that he loved things more than God! What a sad, sad story! How like so many others today!

27. THIS YOUNG MAN TODAY REALLY WANTS THEE, Lord, also‚ but not yet enough! He's a great deal like that rich young ruler: He can only find the fullness of the faith that he seeks in the path of complete obedience when he really begins to forsake all and follow Thee! When he's really willing to take up his cross and deny himself and yield his pride and stubborn will and follow Thee, all the rest will come, because You'll give him the power as he surrenders to Thee. It's up to Thee and up to him. Give her great patience and love for him to help him all she can. He's afraid to tell her the truth for fear she won't love him. Help her to be willing to tell him the truth: that she knows and still loves him! (Strong tongues)

28. KISS OUT THE CANDLE! But if it be of Thee, no man can stand against it!

29. I WAS PRAYING AND TOLD THE LORD TO CLOSE THE DOOR IF IT WASN'T OF HIM, and it came very strong in the Spirit: Close the book and kiss out the candle.—As though the candle were being snuffed out with a loving kiss. If it is not to be, the Lord will put out the flame gently with a loving kiss. As though the Lord is waiting—He's got the book open and he's waiting for him to sign, and He's going to wait...(tongues and crying). O Jesus, You're so patient and loving with us all. O God‚ You've been so patient with me! Have mercy on him! Be patient with him for my sake. If You love me, have mercy and be patient. Don't close the book yet, Lord! The Lord holds the book open for him to sign his name.

30. IT'S AS THOUGH THAT SIGNATURE MEANS HIS TOTAL COMMITMENT. But while he stands there in thought and hesitation the Lord is not going to wait forever, but it is entirely up to him to make the decision. But it is as though God's saying, "It's up to you, Son. But if you don't sign, I'm going to have to close the book." And it's as though the same kiss that would have freed him will have to kiss away the flame (David weeps).

31. SOME PEOPLE COME SO NEAR‚ YET SO FAR! So near!... The rich young ruler came running to the Lord asking what he should do. He came so close—almost, but lost! It's as though the flame is the love—the life of love that the Lord is offering him. The Lord has both the book and the candle, but if he doesn't sign, God's going to have to close the book, and the Lord is going to have to kiss out the candle! He does it lovingly, gently, but He does it. I hope that doesn't mean his life. But so often when people don't make the right decision‚ rather than let them go back against the Lord, it's as though the Lord would rather kiss out the flame of life than let it go back on Him. There's no standing still. When you're brought to the point of decision you either have to go on with the Lord or go back, and sometimes when they go back, they go so far back they even hurt the Work.

32. WHAT BEAUTIFUL PICTURES THE LORD GIVES, so beautiful, so wonderful! It all looks so simple and plain. You just wonder why people can't understand why they can't see it. If he would just let the Lord do it, the Lord would do it. The Lord Himself is the Sun, but this one would himself in a sense become like the sun—strong and brilliant like the Lord, in a sense, and he would warm you. All things are possible with God. And all he has to do is sign the book—commit himself. Almost like the same thing the Lord said to Howard Hughes. He's going to have to commit himself now. God has waited long enough. He's going to have to commit himself now, or God may snuff out his life. God is very patient, but there comes a time when His Spirit will no longer strive with man. Time is short! The hour is late!—Later than you think!

33. (Weeps and speaks in tongues:) I CAN FEEL LIKE THE LORD FEELS! I felt in some ways the sorrow the Lord feels.—As though I was the Lord standing there, and I had the book and the candle‚ and I felt the sorrow the Lord feels!—What a sorrow! What a pity! He can't do it for us! We have to make the decision. He'll do everything else for us—give us strength, power, wisdom, life, love. All He asks is for us to commit ourselves.

34. (David weeps with hands over face:) I FEEL SO SORRY FOR THIS YOUNG MAN! The rich young ruler went away sorrowful. He's not really happy because he knows he's not committing himself. He can't be fully happy. He's trying to be happy‚ and he has a measure of peace and joy, but he hasn't got that total happiness, total unreserved abandonment to the Lord, that full joy. These words I speak unto you‚ that your joy may be full. The branch must abide in the vine that it can bring forth fruit. But he hasn't got that fullness of joy because he's holding back. The Lord weeps for him. Do you know the Lord weeps for us sometimes? He's not an High Priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities. He has compassion upon us. That day at the tomb He wept for the people. He was so sorry for them because of their lack of faith and their unbelief.

35. I DON'T REALLY KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS: If he doesn't sign the book, the Lord is going to close it and kiss out the candle. The Lord will have done His part, He will have done everything He could.

36. THERE WAS SOMETHING ABOUT A BELL—I HEARD A BELL RINGING! Sometimes you get so absorbed in the main thing you're seeing, you forget to describe what else is going on around you, and you just take it for granted everybody knows these things. It's as though there were a bell tolling time! It's like with every stroke of the bell time is tickling away! While God was standing there with the book and this young man was pondering his decision, the bell was tolling. That's a very strange thing, because it vaguely recalls some kind of memory. It'll probably mean something to this man. I can't quite get it yet...—Now, that rings a bell! I have to go back and re-live the picture again. There was a bell ringing... It's some old Catholic ritual that has to do with the ringing of the bell, and the book and the candle, and it has something to do with exorcism, "the casting out of evil spirits!

37. (Strong prayer in the Spirit and weeping:) "KISS THE SON LEST HE BE ANGRY with thee and thou perish from the way!" The Lord waits a long time‚ but then He's a little angry. This is a spiritual struggle, and it is the Devil himself that's holding him back! And it's almost as if when the bell tolls and the book begins to close—the priest is closing it—it's like the exorcist is giving up because the person will not release the evil spirit—will not yield.

38. GOD LEAVES THE CHOICE TO US. WE CAN CHOOSE. The Devil cannot prevent us from choosing. That's the one thing we can do no matter what the Devil does—we can choose! God leaves the choice to us. We can choose! God gives us the power to choose. We can choose if we want to. It's like that book symbolises the life or record which this young man could write with his life and his signature if he would. That's like the record of his life, and the candle represents the light and the Spirit of light and love that God is shining on the book for him to sign. But if he will not write, the bell is tolling away the time, and God closes the book and kisses out the candle. The young man himself has to decide to say no to those spiritual forces that are fighting, or he's going to be left... in darkness!

39. O JESUS, LORD JESUS!—THE BOOK IS CLOSED, THE LIGHT IS GONE, AND HE'S LEFT IN DARKNESS! The bell ceases to toll, and he's left in silence! He no longer hears the voice of God—like the voice of conscience ringing—tolling out the time like a funeral dirge. The book is like life's record, and the candle the light of life and love.

40. OH, THAT'S A SAD PICTURE!—ALL AROUND WAS DARKNESS!—The only light was the light on the face of the priest who represented the Lord. I was the priest, and it's like I was the Lord to him and I was offering the book for his signature and the light shone on his face, my face and the book—and everything else was darkness! We could hear the bell tolling, that awful relentless bell!—Then darkness and silence; and the bell ceased it's tolling.

41. THE BOOK HAD CLOSED, THE PRIEST HAD KISSED OUT THE LIGHT‚ AND THE BELL HAD CEASED ITS TOLLING! What could the light mean?—Almost as though you, to him, are the light—It's like I can give him the light, or I can kiss it away. It's just like I am like the Lord, the priest, and I can turn you on for him and I can turn you off if he doesn't sign. You're the light‚ in a way—the Holy Spirit in you, of course‚ You're like the candlestick bearing the flame of God's light: and if he doesn't obey and doesn't sign, then the record will be closed and the light taken away and the bell cease to toll. God doesn't give you forever, because time is short. It's like light and life and love are all one and the same thing.

42. IT REMINDS ME OF AN OLD POEM that hung on the wall of our home when I was a little boy. I didn't fully understand its meaning then‚ but it sounded so sad I used to stand there as a lad and read it and weep!—

"The night has a thousand eyes

The day but one

Yet the light of a whole world dies

When day is done!

The mind has a thousand eyes

The heart but one

Yet the light of a whole life dies

When love is done!"

—(Author Unknown.)

43. IT'S LIKE YOU'RE BOTH LIGHT, LIFE AND LOVE TO HIM—THE GIFT OF GOD TO HIM. It's God's light and life and love. If he doesn't accept this precious priceless gift God has given him, God's going to close the book and snuff out the candle and take it back with a kiss.

44. ISN'T IT MARVELOUS HOW GOD GAVE THESE ILLUSTRATIONS—things with which this one is very familiar—the vineyard and the rituals of the Catholic Church! Thank You Lord for speaking! You have all the answers, and we know nothing except what You show us. All we have to do is ask. You promised we'd receive. We just knock and the door is opened to us and we can look in and see just exactly what's in his heart and Thy heart and the whole picture! If we really seek the answer, we find it.

45. WHATEVER GOD DOES, HE DOES IT IN LOVE, HE CAN GIVE IT OR TAKE IT AWAY, but whichever, He always does both in love. There's something they say afterward: What is it, Lord? "Toll the bell, close the book and quench the candle!"

46. O GOD, HAVE MERCY! HELP US TO CHOOSE aright before Thy bell of Time ceases to toll, Thy book is closed, and our candle quenched forever in darkness! (Bell tolls.)—Are you choosing God's way?—Or your own! (P.S.—YOU'LL BE HAPPY TO KNOW THIS STORY HAS A HAPPY ENDING! This revelation was read dramatically to this young couple one night at one of our Colonies, complete with bell, book, candle and priest. As the final words died away and the bell tolled, this brave young man stepped boldly forward without a moment's hesitation and signed the book with a firm hand, as the audience watched with bated breath! Then he flung both hands Heavenward in liberated praise to God!—He was freed! Hallelujah!—And the congregation of his spiritual brothers and sisters exploded with him in praise and Thanksgiving! They were then betrothed on the spot and are to be married soon‚ to work as one together for the Lord in His Vineyard! Praise God!)