Spiritual Progress is Vertical

The Lord gave me a revelation that really increased my understanding of spiritual progression. It also opened up a number of Scriptures. It was while we were worshiping in one of our services that the revelation came. The first Scripture that came to my mind was the account of the burning bush in the third chapter of Exodus. Do you know what the burning bush represents? It is the Body of Christ on fire with the presence of God. Out of this bush-Body will come forth the Word of God.

Exodus 3:1 Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.

Moses was shepherding the sheep. There is something about shepherding that God likes. Jesus Christ is called the Good Shepherd (John 10:11), and we are the sheep of His pasture (Psalm 100:3). Shepherding typifies spiritual ministry.

Moses…came to the mountain of God. Moses probably wasn’t aware of it, but he was making spiritual progress. God was dealing with him in the natural things he was involved in, bringing him to a place where he could meet with Him. Coming to the mountain of God, a higher place in God, speaks of spiritual progress.

Exodus 3:2 And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.

The angel of the Lord: Literally, The angel of Jehovah.

Exodus 3:3 And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.

The bush is the seneh, a member of the acacia family. Acacia wood was used in the tabernacle. The Ark of the Covenant, for example, was made of acacia wood. An acacia bush was used for the sprinkling of blood on the altar. Acacia wood also is called “incorruptible wood” because it does not rot as other woods do. For this cause it typifies the incorruptible nature of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Exodus 3:4 And when the Lord (Jehovah) saw that he turned aside to see, God (Elohim) called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.

There aren’t two Gods speaking from the bush, only one. In the same verse He is called Jehovah and Elohim, and in verse 2 He is called the angel of Jehovah.

Exodus 3:5 And He said, Draw not near: put off your shoes from off your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.

What makes the ground holy, of course, is the presence of the Lord. There is a principle in the Old Testament that if you touch something unclean, then you become unclean. If you touch something holy, then holiness is transferred. God tells Moses to take his shoes off for the ground where he is standing is holy. In other words, be exposed to His presence; let there be nothing between you and the divine presence.

Exodus 3:6 Moreover He said, I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.

The fire in the burning bush was a physical manifestation of God. It is quite interesting that the Lord said, “I am the God of your fathers – the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” He is saying, “I am the God of that which birthed you.” Also, He is saying that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are still living, for He is not the God of the dead but of the living (Matthew 22:32).

Exodus 3:7 And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of My people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows.

The opinion of many Christians is that Egypt represents a person’s condition before he is saved. When he becomes a Christian, God has brought him out of Egypt. That can’t be completely right because the Israelites were God’s people before that. They were God’s people while they were in Egypt, but they were under taskmasters – other lords were over them. There are many Christians today that are under taskmasters. Some religious organizations are like taskmasters over God’s people with their rules and regulations – this is what you can do and this is what you can’t do. The people are laboring under restrictions that cannot produce spiritual growth – no upward movement in God. It is not what you do or don’t do – according to a code of regulations – that makes you holy but what you become. It is the appropriation of His presence that brings forth holiness. He is holiness and righteousness; there is none apart from Him.

Why did God wait so long to deliver His people out of Egypt? He had to wait for them to cry out. He knew their sorrows all along, but they didn’t. It is amazing how long people will labor under bondage before they cry out to the Lord. Many Christians are in bondage today and don’t realize it. They are eating the leeks and melons of Egypt and are satisfied. God can’t deliver them when they don’t know they need deliverance. But the time is approaching when they will begin crying out, for God is already raising up a Moses Company to lead them out.

Exodus 3:8-10 And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites.
9 Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto Me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them.
10 Come now therefore, and I will send you unto Pharaoh that you may bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.

Notice verse 8: I am come down…to bring them up. Things are horizontal in the natural realm. For example, in the realm of time there are days, weeks, months, and years. That is lateral or consecutive movement on a horizontal plane. In time you have to wait until a certain day for the events to happen on that day. It is not that way in the spirit realm; it is vertical. God said, “I have come down to bring them up.” He was not in a literal place somewhere above so that He had to leave that place to come down to earth. In the spirit realm it is a matter of planes or levels. His very presence is here for He is omnipresent. But we are living on a low plane of spirit and He is on a higher plane of spirit. So He says, “I come down.” The Lord was spirit before He became flesh. Then He came down to the realm of man and now He is bringing us up to where He is (John 14:3; Ephesians 2:6). But we do not leave the earth; this is spiritual ascension.

When the Lord spoke to me about vertical movement I was reminded of the story of Jacob fleeing from Esau (Genesis 28:10-13). In a dream Jacob saw a ladder that reached from earth to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending upon it. Then in John 1:51 Jesus told Nathaniel, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man. Jesus Christ was Jacob’s ladder, the connecting link between God and man. The ascending and descending is vertical movement.

In the natural, the realm of time, you have to wait for a certain day to come. That is horizontal movement. But in the realm of spirit it is vertical movement. God told Moses, “I have come down to bring them up.” Then in Exodus 19:4 He said, “I have brought you unto Myself.” Ephesians 2:6 says that He is raising us up to sit together with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

Vertical movement is not on a time line. If you need a meeting with the Lord, you don’t have to wait for Him to meet you sometime in the future. Lift your spirit. Take the initiative to meet Him. God is always ready, and He will always respond to your initiative to meet with Him. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you (James 4:8). It is a matter of vertical movement. He is not far away; He is just on another realm of spirit. Use your faith; lift up your awareness of Him. You please the Lord very much whenever you draw near to Him.

Hebrews chapter four speaks about a rest that is available to the people of God and it is called “His rest” – the same seventh day rest of God spoken of in Genesis chapter 2:1-3. That seventh day rest of God is available for us. It is a realm of God that remains open for His people to enter in with Him. For He spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all His works. And in this place again, If they will enter into My rest, seeing therefore it remains that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: again, He limits a certain day, saying in David, Today, after so long a time; as it is said, Today if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts. For if Jesus (Joshua) had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remains therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into His rest, he also has ceased from his own works, as God did from His. Hebrews 4:4-10.

Today if ye will hear His voice – not a day in the future when His rest will be available. It is available now! Today, if you hear His voice, then enter into His rest.

In the first chapter of Genesis you have the first day, second day, and on to the seventh day when God rested. That is all prophetic. Instead of only seeing it in horizontal time, look at it as vertical progression. The first day represents our first relationship in the Lord. It is when the light of revelation comes to us and we begin to see in the realm of spirit. We are children of light, children of the day (I Thessalonians 5:5). He is the Christ of the first day. When we move up to the second day, it is the same Christ and same Lord, but we have a new relationship with Him. We have advanced spiritually – vertical progression. The third day, fourth day, etc., are all realms of spirit and each one we enter is a new relationship with the Lord. We are ascending spiritually, advancing toward the seventh day of rest. We are entering the seventh day of rest when we are no longer working for the Lord, but instead He is working through us.

Genesis 1:14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years.

The firmament is the realm of ministry (see Psalm 19:1-6). The heavens are the realms of spirit. The lights are the ministries that God is raising up to minister in the realms of spirit. The literal translation of the word “light” here is “light-bearers,” which reminds us of Jesus telling His disciples, You are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14).

So it says, Let there be light in the firmament of the heavens (or, light-bearers ministering in the realm of spirit) to divide the day from the night (We are children of the day, not children of the night – I Thessalonians 5:5. There will be a division between those who serve God and those who do not); and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years.

God is creating those lights right now, those that He will shine through as they separate the day from the night. Malachi spoke of this ministry in his prophecy. And they shall be Mine, says the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spares his own son that serves him. Then shall you return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serves God and him that serves Him not. Malachi 3:17-18.

The vertical movement of spiritual progress is seen on the Day of Pentecost, too. Acts 2:1 says, And when the Day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. The Greek translation is more accurate: “When the Day of Pentecost was being fulfilled.” Realizing this it led me to understand that it wasn’t just talking about a certain day of the year or a certain Day of Pentecost in history when this outpouring of the Spirit would take place. Instead of a matter of time horizontally, it was a matter of vertical progression. In other words, the 120 were in the upper room praising and worshiping God. They were ascending spiritually in their worship, and doing so they moved into a higher level of spirit where there was a spiritual fulfillment of Pentecost. So it isn’t so much the way we have thought about it in the past of the Spirit being poured out on a certain day as it is the disciples moving up to the realm of fulfillment. How else would you explain the fact that the 120 all received the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues but not one out of the thousands of others that were there for the Feast of Pentecost experienced the same thing? If only a particular day was needed, many other sincere dedicated Jews would have experienced the Holy Spirit, too. But only the 120 had been praising and worshiping the Lord; only the 120 ascended vertically to a spiritual Day of Pentecost. They ascended to where the Day of Pentecost was being fulfilled.

You say, “I want God to bless me!” He has already blessed you. Move up to where the blessing is fulfilled. “I want Him to pour out His Spirit upon me.” Don’t wait for it to happen; it is waiting on you – move up into the fulfillment. It is important for us to learn how to lift our spirits.

There are so many Scriptures that speak of this. Jesus told His disciples, Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then comes harvest? Behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest (John 4:35). The reality is in the realm of spirit, and you get in the reality through vertical movement, by lifting your spirit into a higher realm.

II Corinthians 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen (that is, things in the horizontal realm of time), but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

It is the things of spirit that are eternal. Everything in the realm of the seen - that is, the horizontal realm or history realm – is temporary. The things that are spiritual are eternal. And we come into the things of spirit through vertical movement.

How have we missed this truth of vertical movement? We have fallen into the trap so many times of wanting the Lord to meet us in a certain way. We will get a Word about something and put in out into the future – one day God is going to bring this to pass. It won’t ever come to pass as long as we hold it in the future, because we can’t walk in the future. It has to be now! He that believes in God must believe that He is (Hebrews 11:6).

Enoch must have understood vertical movement. He had a vision of the Lord coming with 10,000 of His saints (Jude 14; Genesis 5:24). It would have been very easy to throw that one out in the distant future. In fact, Christians do it all the time! But Enoch didn’t do that; he entered into it. The Scriptures say that he was not – Enoch became a was-not and God became everything. Vertical movement is the spiritual progress that causes God to be everything in your life. Spiritual progress is vertical!

Copyright © 2002 by Henry DuBose