Here Comes The Bride

“Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” And it was given to her to cloth herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.”

~ Revelation 19:7-8 NASB

PASSIONATE LOVE

To love vehemently; wholly, speedily, especially when repeated; diligently, especially, exceedingly, greatly, louder and louder, mightily, utterly; to rake together; a poker for turning and gathering embers; a firebrand (i.e. torch). Doesn’t this Hebrew word for “strength”[1] sound like passionate bridal love? I discovered this description for carrying a torch for the Lord as I was beginning to dive deeper into what it really meant to love my God. What did He have to say about it? I was drawn to the scripture that Yeshua calls the first and greatest commandment: “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matt. 22:37). I noticed that this was first articulated in Deuteronomy 6, which frankly held the strongest attraction for me: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” (Deut. 6:5).[2] As my whole being cried, “Yes!” I was already asking questions. Strength? Why strength? I heard a Bible teacher on the radio say that in the Bible the Hebrews usually listed items from easiest to hardest. Now I was really confused. This didn’t line up with the paradigm I had been taught. Isn’t loving God with all one’s heart the paramount demonstration of love? How could loving God with all my heart or soul be easier than loving Him with all my strength? I rolled up my sleeves and pulled out my concordance. This, coupled with some other resources I had on-hand, gave me the understanding that I needed.

The easiest way to love the Lord your God = “with all your heart.” The Hebrew word for heart is lev,[3] and its ancient word picture tells us that the heart is what controls the family or what controls the inside.[4] Your heart is known as the center of your being – the most interior organ.[5] Your emotions and desires can be ways of transporting your love. In the Bible, the heart is synonymous with the mind. Consider how our minds consist of our intellect, will, and emotions. When our brain processes information, many times our will is faced with a choice to make. Our decision results in an action, whether passive or active, and then that particular action[6] creates an emotional memory or pathway. We all have experienced how other people’s decisions towards us affect our emotional memories too. Scientists tell us that the deepest imprints come from exceptionally painful or joyful moments. … To come into the mind of Christ, we must subjugate our mindsets to the Spirit of the Living God. “Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree… you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Cor. 1:10 NASB). The “same mind” here speaks of being perfectly joined together in the mind of Christ. The “same judgment” equates to the appraisal that God puts on a situation. It’s his evaluation, his process.  Any veiled hostility in our mind toward the character of Christ must shift/change to form a new order for the future – eventually the restoration of all things in the Messiah. … We should welcome all of the righteous boundaries set by God, so we can fully connect to express His glorious nature.

The next hardest way to love the Lord your God = “with all your soul.” The Hebrew word for soul nephesh (neh’-fesh)[7] means a breathing creature. Its verb naphash (naw-fash) means to breathe or be refreshed.[8] Therefore, to love God with all your soul means to love Him with your very life’s breathe.  One may think of the authentic gift of martyrdom: “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even to death” (Rev. 12:11 NASB, emphasis mine). Even though loving God with your very life’s breath is an extremely admirable characteristic, this form of love stays at a soulish level; hence, it’s description “loving the Lord your God with all your soul.” How can loving God with all your strength be harder than that? Let’s take a peek.

The hardest way to love the Lord your God = “with all your strength.” The word “strength” in Hebrew basically means your resources. Say what?! It’s harder to love God with all your resources than the very breath you take? Think about it. The windows in the high-rise hotels inLas Vegas only open 3 inches. Why? Because the casino owners don’t want their clientele jumping out the window when they lose all their money. That’s just one example of people valuing money or resources more than life itself. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:21). When all is said and done, it’s about being fully connected to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in love. You and I must love God with all our strength in its fullness or our love will remain entangled with soulish shackles. The carnal cares of this world will weigh us down. I believe that God’s people demonstrate a bridal love for Him when all three of these areas of our lives are submitted to His lordship, especially our resources. My Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines the word “resource” as: a source of supply or support; a natural source of wealth; a source of information or expertise; an ability to meet and handle a situation. The word “resource” comes from the word resourdre, which means to relieve. It more importantly literally means to rise again, and my dictionary refers me to the word “resurrection.” I greatly value the cross of Jesus Christ, but sometimes I am grieved when the church stops at His death. We need to follow Yeshua in burying the dead, and walking in resurrected life. Now is the time for the spiritual resurrection of His corporate body. When we think of resurrection resources, we should search for clues by examining kingdom in God’s Word.

SPENDING OURSELVES

I believe that common sense shows us that the ultimate form of loving the Lord our God with all our strength is interchangeable with keeping the feasts of the Lord. Don’t we expend a tremendous amount of resources to celebrate any feast? Abundance is practically the definition of any celebration. Bridal love for the Lord our God is verified by how we spend our resources. It’s a godly submission of stewardship. It’s putting our money where our mouth is sort of speak. Loving God with all our strength is fulfilled by spending our resources in Christ – as He perfectly desires. Anything and everything will be expended as worshipful acts of submission to our King. In the kingdomof God, we will adore the King diligently spending ourselves for His good pleasure, which will be our greatest pleasure too. Every day with the King is a celebration! Literally, there is a holiday or celebration each day on earth’s calendar somewhere in the world.[9] Celebrations set significant parts of the culture for both a pagan and a holy nation. The Bible shows us that any ungodly compromise will not be allowed in His dwelling place – the holy city called the New Jerusalem or in His holy nation consisting of the royal priesthood of believers. Mankind has been made in God’s image, and we all enjoy a good celebration. The Lord put the drive to celebrate within us. Many of us will go to great lengths to break a fun barrier. But will we go the greatest length by celebrating the Lord His way? The feasts of the Lord are God’s occasions for celebrating where we spend our resources His glorious ways. Remember that God’s feasts are fixed by Him in His Word. At His biblical feasts, the Lord our God is summoning His people to meet with Him, so we can be directed by Him into a certain place, situation or arrangement that are conducive for marriage. All people have been made to be spent on Him. “For the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Neh. 8:10 NASB). Over and over again in the Bible, the Lord articulates one theme more than any other in regards to the feasts of the Lord, and that theme is joy: “They observed the Feast of the Unleavened Bread seven days with joy, for the LORD had caused them to rejoice” (Ezra 6:22 NASB). Yeshua loves to have a good time, especially with His queen!

YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED Jesus sends out an invitation to the marriage of the Lamb whenever anyone hears the message of the gospel. It is a wedding proposal by God to accept Him and be part of His Bride. The ancient Jewish wedding ceremony teaches us that the wedding of the Messiah consists of twelve steps, with the twelfth and final step, being the wedding supper for all the guests invited by the father of the Bride.[10] “And the angel said, ‘Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.’ And he added, ‘These are true words that come from God’ ” (Rev. 19:9 NLT). Those who believe in their hearts that God raised Yeshua from the dead and they confess with their mouths that Jesus is Lord (Rom. 10:9-10) have made their first step toward attending the marriage feast by becoming part of His family. Recently, I received a wedding invitation from a friend. In the vellum envelope were several items: a wedding announcement and invitation by the bride and groom’s parents, a map to the wedding and reception, and an RSVP card. To attend my friend’s daughter’s wedding, it is essential that I do a number of things. First, I needed to reserve the time by checking my calendar to make sure that day is open. Manners require me to return the self-addressed, stamped RSVP with the number of people attending. And last, but not least, I get to find an exquisite card, a gorgeous gift, and elegant clothing suitable for such a joyous event. Taking these real-life attendance prerequisites for a wedding and overlaying them over our spiritual lives, we can see some of the things that the Lord our God is requiring of us so we will be able to attend the wedding supper of the Lamb. Once you or I receive a wedding invitation, we must reserve that time. Of note: The king initially sends out His wedding invitations only to His friends, then to all who will come.

The kingdom of heaven is like a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son and he sent his servants to summon those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they refused to come. Again he sent other servants… but they were not concerned and paid no attention [they ignored and made light of the summons, treating it with contempt] and they went away… Then he said to his servants, The wedding [feast] is prepared, but those invited were not worthy. So go to the thoroughfares where they leave the city [where the main roads and those from the country end] and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find. And those servants went out on the crossroads and got together as many as they found, both good and bad, so [the room in which] the wedding feast [was held] was filled with guests”

~ Matt. 22:2-10 AMP

Once we reserve the time, we must tell the one giving the wedding and reception that we are coming. At formal occasions it is most inconsiderate to not RSVP. I feel that the biblical proclamation of the Spirit and the Bride saying, “Come!” in Revelation 22:17 can be likened to a self-addressed and stamped RSVP. Will you say “I do” to the Messiah’s proposal to you? The excitement of receiving this awesome wedding invitation to the best event ever, and the pleasure of responding is just the beginning. Now attendees, including the Bride and Groom, must prepare themselves for such an august occasion. Have you ever considered that the marriage of the Lamb and the marriage feast is an incredible facet of the culmination of the ages? God has been preparing for this glorious moment since before the foundations of the world. He is readying a place for the Bride. The King’s son will be married to His helpmate, and the invitations have gone out throughout the entire earth. According to Scripture, God clothes His people with proper wedding attire: “I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorn herself with her jewels” (Isa. 61:10). The Lord provides us with garments of salvation and a robe of righteousness at the cross, but we must not forget that our lives are journeys.

RIGHTEOUS READINESS In 2001, I was part of a corporate ascension experience. We came to the Lord as the Bride of Christ. In the Spirit, I saw an attic door open up and Yeshua peeked down. He asked if I’d like to come up early.  I hesitated; then realized it was Him. Yeshua reached down. I reached up. When we touched, I was immediately with Him in the Spirit. He said, “Let’s wait here for the rest of them. I looked around. We were on purple clouds and the stars above were bright. Yeshua sat cross-legged and invited me to do the same. Shortly, He exclaimed, “Come on!” as He took my hand and pulled me to my feet. We started to walk on the purple clouds. He at first held my hand as we walked side-by-side; then He stepped in front as I followed. We walked and walked and walked and walked and walked and walked. [11] We walked until the leader of the group declared, “The window is open!” I looked up, because a glaring brightness became visible in another layer of clouds above us. Yeshua led. I followed. As I climbed through the radiant opening, we were encompassed with light. Nothing else was visible. I remember knowing at the time that He and I had become one – the same essence. As soon as I was aware of oneness, I saw myself in a dressing room looking into a mirror. The door opened, and in stepped Jesus. He presented me with a simple gold chain necklace. My Beloved said, “For purity,” as He raised the necklace up. He then asked me to turn around. I spun around and lifted my hair. Yeshua hooked the golden necklace around my neck, and promptly exited the dressing room. When I saw a simple white under-garment above my head, I raised my arms to receive it; then I waited for a little while longer. Something inside of me prompted me to get up and open the door. I started to walk clothed only in my white camisole and gold necklace. As I walked, different pieces of my wedding dress flung onto me: my upper left sleeve, lower right sleeve, et cetera. My wedding dress was simple, but very elegant. It was white and sparkled. Just as I reached out to grab the handle to this huge wooden door, the last piece completing my ensemble flung onto me. I was fully, properly, and gloriously clothed. I opened the door and immediately saw myself at the left side of Yeshua just as my wedding ring sits on my left hand. We were sitting at a banqueting table. I knew that there must have been a most sumptuous feast, but I truly didn’t care for I only had eyes for Him. I was literally “lost” in His eyes. I had a vague recollection that there must be many people in attendance, but still I just could not take my eyes off of Him. Everything paled in comparison. After a little while, Love told me to stand. I did. Then He told me to take a bow. I replied: “You are the One that is supposed to bow. You do it all.” My Love repeated kindly, yet unwaveringly: “Bow, My dear. I want to honor My Bride.”  I could not deny His easy request. As I simply bowed, the whole of heaven applauded. I was so humbled and overwhelmed. I remember that I looked at Him and He smiled. He was so magnificent and truly deserved all the glory and honor and praise. Yet, here He was sharing it all. Please place yourself in my place if you have a bridal heart for this vision represents you as well. I’d like to point out how the Bride’s glorious wedding ensemble is pulled together as she walks (i.e. lives, moves and has her being in Him).  Revelation 19:7-8 tells us: “Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and His Bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear. (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)” Most other versions of the Bible say: “for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.” The Bible also makes it clear that “those who are prepared went in with Him to the marriage feast; and the door was shut” (Matt. 25:10 AMP). So much for preparation being optional. Obviously, God’s people must make themselves ready for the marriage feast of the Lamb. Therefore, to be invited to the Lamb’s wedding through one’s acceptance of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and to not RSVP will make one ineligible to attend THE EVENT OF ALL TIME. Likewise, to simply RSVP to the Lamb’s marriage feast, but to not get ready by preparing in advance will be an insufficient effort as well. Know that it will not be enough to merely verbally ascent to Jesus being your Lord and Savior. We will have to do what He did and even greater works (John 14:12). In other words, we will have to walk the talk demonstrating the reality of our close relationship to God’s kingdom. “Someone may say, ‘I am a Christian; I am on my way to heaven; I belong to Christ.’ But if he doesn’t do what Christ tells him to, he is a liar. But those who do what Christ tells them to will learn to love God more and more. That is the way to know whether or not you are a Christian. Anyone who says he is a Christian should live as Christ” (1 John 2:4-6 TLB). UNFAITHFUL FRIEND

The kingdom of heaven is like a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son …the wedding feast was filled with guests. But when the king came in to view the guests, he  looked intently at a man there who had no wedding garment. And he said, Friend, how did you come in here without putting on the [appropriate] wedding garment? And he was speechless (muzzled, gagged). Then the king said to the attendants, Tie him hand and foot, and throw him into the darkness outside; there will be weeping and grinding of teeth. For many are called (invited and summoned), but few are chosen.

~ Matt. 22:1, 10-13 AMP

The first thing that I would like to point out is that the wedding guest, who was thrown out of the wedding banquet, was called “friend” by the king. When I search the Bible, I see that only believers are called friends:

Abraham believed God …and was called the friend of God.

~ James 2:23 NKJV

He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice.

~ John 3:29 NKJV

According to these Scriptures, this friend of God believed Him and rejoiced greatly at the Jesus’ voice. It can be likened to a person receiving God’s invitation by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ; and they also probably RSVPed by rejoicing at the bridegroom’s voice saying, “Come Lord Jesus! Come!” But they were not prepared. They did not make themselves ready. They were not appropriately clad in wedding clothes. We can have faith that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. We can have hope in His coming, but unless we demonstrate our love for God and one another, the Bible says that it profits us nothing (1 Cor. 13:2). “But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor. 13:10, 12-13 NKJV). Faith and hope are necessary components to our Christian walk, but they only get us two-thirds of the way down our bridal path. The final, and most challenging, leg of our bridal journey leads us unto perfection. The manifestation of perfection is love: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. ”

~ Matthew 22:36-39

Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of peace.

~ Colossians 3:14 NASB

By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself walk in the same manner as He walked.

~ 1 John 2:1-6 NASB, emphasis mine

This is My commandment that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.

~ John 15:12-15 NKJV, emphasis mine

 

The friends, who do whatever the Lord commands, are being clothed with fine, clean, bright linen so they can attend the marriage and banquet of the Lamb. Remember it’s the righteous acts of the saints, which creates the fine linen that attires the Bride and the wedding guests. These are not good deeds we initiate showing the Lord how much we love him. We have all been there, done that, even bought the T-shirt when it comes to acting as an immature believer. “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things” (1 Cor. 13:11 NKJV). By the way, bridal attire is worn by those who choose to move unto perfection (i.e. maturity) manifesting His endless, unfailing love.  Let me re-iterate: “the righteous acts of the saints” are not acts, deeds, or works we have decided on our own to do. The Lord initiates them and they coincide with His Word. That means if the Bible says, “love your neighbor as yourself,” live your life abiding by that standard. We are to live our lives by the principles expressed in the Word of God, but we are also supposed to ask Him if any particular action is of Him and should we do it. Once a person consistently makes submitting to the Lord of Love a habit, maturing believers begin to just flow in His will and His way without the need of constantly asking Him. Communication is still necessary. It’s like when a married couple knows one another so well that not only do they finish one another’s sentences, they also know what actions will please or not please each other. The two have become one. Bridal love causes us to submit everything to Him. Yes, we are to cloth the naked, feed the hungry, look after widows and orphans; but we are finite and we can only be in one place at a time. If we are spending our time trying to please Him without asking the Lord what will actually please him at that exact moment in time, we will probably miss the perfect mark of doing what He did.  “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by Himself; He can do only what He sees His Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does” (John 5:19).

SURRENDERING ALL

Many words can describe bridal character, but there seems to be one word, which is unusually fit or qualified to describe it. That word is yieldedness. When we yield to Love, it means we surrender and submit ourselves to another (i.e. our Beloved). We relinquish possession of ourselves. We give the Lord whatever He requires as rightfully owed, rendering it as is fitting to our good and benevolent King of Kings. We are willing to give up our lives’ breath. We literally hand over control to Him so we can bear eternal fruit as a natural product of abiding in Him. Our yieldedness to the Lord of Love will actually determine the amount, quality, and return of our produce. The inappropriately dressed friend of the king in Matthew 22:12 is a believer, who has hope that the Messiah will come again. This friend probably heard what the Father is doing, because this sentiment coincides with Scripture, which says the Lord calls those who believe and hear Him His friend. But the king’s friend did not obey His instructions. This friend of the bridegroom heard, but did not do what the Lord commanded.

Don’t forget that Jesus called Judas Iscariot “friend” at His betrayal (Matt. 26:49-50). Judas believed that Yeshua was the Messiah. He believed in His coming kingdom. But Judas leaned on his own understanding and tried to force the issue of Jesus becomingIsrael’s conquering king before His time. No one would argue that Judas didn’t do things God’s way.

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (Jam.1:22 NKJV). Please note that hearing comes before doing. Our relationship with the Lord comes before our responsibility, but equally our relationship does not negate our responsibilities. (If you don’t know how to hear God’s voice yet, take time to learn. He is faithful and will teach you. All you need to do is set your heart to the task of hearing the Lord’s voice, spend time in His presence, and let Him guide you. I know I simplified the whole process of hearing God’s voice. Whole books have been written to help you do just that. I know that hearing God’s voice is a lot easier said than done, but the rewards are out-of-this world!) Let us remember that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God; but it does not stop there. In the end, love will remain. Another way to say this is: living and active faith results in righteous acts.  Deeds and actions are the true measure of anyone’s substance. They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable and unfit for doing anything good.

~ Titus 2:16

… their words and deeds are against the LORD, defying his glorious presence.

~ Isaiah 3:8

Even a child is known for his actions, by whether his conduct is pure and right.

                                                                                                                     ~ Proverbs 22:11

I believe that Christians in America need to become more balance between our having faith in Jesus and obeying His commandments (Rev.14:12). It’s obvious to the most casual observer that our pendulum needs to be corrected on the “doing” side. Please understand that legalistic behavior is not what I am promoting here. The “Do and do, do and do, rule on rule, rule on rule; a little here, a little there – so that they will go and fall backward, be injured and snared and captured” (Isa. 28:13). No! I repeat. I am promoting living our lives in love towards God and our fellow man. I have been taught that all believers will be at the wedding feast of the Lamb. That may be true. All believers are part of God’s family; but I don’t want to be simply invited.  I want to be a precious component of the bridal company that will ultimately be married to the King of Kings. Wouldn’t you rather be in the thick of the festivities? It’s going to be a whole lot of fun! I believe that the Matthew 22 passage may refute the idea of total inclusiveness for wedding participants: the Bride and guests, which may be one and the same (who knows). All believers need to re-examine the Scriptures and seek the Spirit of Truth to see what God is saying. The one thing that I do know is that the Bridegroom and the King will have the last say on who attends the marriage supper of the Lamb, and I don’t want to be left out! The only way I know of to be sure of being at the wedding banquet is to sell out completely. To love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength; and my neighbor as myself. Due to this lack of inclusiveness idea for the marriage feast being different than the church’s previous paradigm, plus the possibility of controversy, I’d like to bring some additional scriptural evidence to the table. The famous Christian apologist, Josh McDowell, calls his supporting facts “evidence that demands a verdict.” First and foremost is the classic bridal passage of Matthew 25:1-13. Ten virgins are waiting for the Bridegroom, but only the five wise virgins with oil in their lamps went into the wedding banquet with the Bridegroom. “The virgins who were ready went in with Him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut” (Matt. 25:10). Tragically, those five foolish bridal candidates (i.e. believers) never got into the wedding supper of the Lamb.

SANCTIFICATION – CLEAN HANDS & PURE HEARTS

First Corinthians 10:11 tells us: “Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” What things? Passing through the Red Sea, eating manna, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. It’s what happened to the Israelites in the wilderness after they left Egypt, which is spoken of throughout the Old Testament, especially the first five books of the Bible. Jesus and His disciples taught from the Old Testament and so did Paul. If it’s good enough for Jesus, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Paul, it’s good enough for Jesus’ followers too.[12] Notice that the wedding guest with an inappropriate wedding garment in Matthew 22:13 was tied hand and foot. This is our clue that leads us to the portable tabernacle in the wilderness. The priests washed their hands and feet in the temple laver before they entered the tent where they met God. “You shall also make a laver of bronze, with its base of bronze, for washing; and you shall put it between the tent of meeting and the altar, and you shall put water in it.” (Exod.30:18 NASB). Many Christian Bibles call the temple laver the brazen laver. This is a misnomer for it was actually made of copper. The copper laver was an open circular basin that was set upon a copper base. The Hebrew Sage Rashi[13] said it had two spouts at the bottom through which the water would flow[14] keeping it from becoming stagnant. In the Hebrew language the term “for washing” carries the idea that the laver was “for sanctification;”[15] therefore the actual purpose for the priests washing their hands and feet was for holiness and sanctity rather than cleanliness (Exod. 30:17-21). The hands and feet represent the upper and lower extremities of the human body. By sanctifying their appendages, it was symbolic of the servants of the Lord’s total devotion to the service they were engaged in. It set apart their acts as righteous. A most literal picture of this is presented to us in Exodus 30:19. The Hebrew Sage Or HaChaim said that the conjunction in the phrase “their hands together with their feet” (Exod. 30:19) indicated that the hands and feet must be washed at the same time.[16] Consequently, the right hand was placed on the priest’s right foot and washed together at the same time, followed by his left hand together with his left foot. Concentration and balance were key to accomplishing this hand-foot sanctification feat. Try it some time in your bathtub.  I had the kids in my Children’s Church class try to do this by simply standing next to their chairs. It was a lot more difficult than they thought and funny too. It’s quite the image of proper service to God requires all of a body’s faculties, and those faculties must be directed toward the same goal.[17]

The laver was not made of copper from the regular contributions. The laver was made exclusively from the brightly polished sheets of copper that women used as mirrors in Egypt(Exod. 38:8).[18] When the call went out for freewill contributions, devout women, who used to come to Moses’ tent to sit at his feet like Mary did with Jesus,[19] came with their copper mirrors and piled them up at Moses’ dwelling, which was the God’s dwelling place prior to the tent of meeting being built (Exod. 33:7). Moses was said to be reluctant to accept such gifts for the tabernacle due to his initial thinking that the mirrors had been used to incite lust. The story goes that God told Moses that he was wrong, because these very mirrors had been instrumental in saving the nation. In Egypt, when the men came home exhausted every night from heavy labors, their wives used these mirrors to get all dolled up to entice their husbands to continue normal martial relations. Thanks to these brightly, polished copper mirrors, legions of Jewish children were born. God not only told Moses to accept these precious mirrors, but they were to be used exclusively to fabricate the laver. The Bible doesn’t give the specific size of the laver due to that fact that every single mirror had to go into fashioning it, no matter how big it would become – so sacred were those mirrors. [20], [21] Of note, these devout women could no longer gaze upon themselves with any vanity, because they had to fix their eyes upon the laver to see themselves. The laver represents bridal lovers fixing their eyes upon the Author and Perfecter of their faith (Heb. 12:2). The extreme reach of the body of Christ should be set apart for a sacred purpose. The farthest boundary of the One New Man in Christ should be free from sin due to our special tie (i.e. connected relationship) with Jesus. The word “tie” is from the Greek verb de,w  deo, which means “to bind.” It has many nuances. We can think of the concept of being restrained by authority, influence, agreement, or obligation. We can also think of a special tie that binds people together romantically. A marital tie binds two people together physically, mentally, and spiritually. If our lives yield to the Lord of Love and His sacred purposes, then we will not be tied hand and foot to be thrown out of the wedding feast. I sought the Lord about what it means that one of his friends would be cast outside for not having the proper clothing, and I believe that He told me: Once the friend saw the glory of the wedding feast, “outside” the feast would appear as darkness for he or she would weep at glimpsing, yet not being able to partake of the marriage feast. It is noteworthy that this place outside the wedding feast is also assigned to hypocrites – where people’s actions don’t line up with their words (Matt. 24:51). A friend told me about a confirmation of this revelation. It’s in Rick Joyner’s book – The Final Quest: This great multitude are those whom the Lord called ‘foolish virgins.’ We knew the Lord, and trusted in His cross for salvation but we did not really live for Him, but for ourselves. … The grief that we experienced when we understood how we had so wasted our lives was beyond any grief possible on earth. … Such darkness is magnified when it is revealed next to the glory of the One we failed. … There is no greater folly than to know the great salvation of God, but to then go on living for yourself.[22] Please don’t forget that we are talking about unrepentant or willful sin. The Lord’s awesome mercy, incredible grace, and humbling forgiveness is available to all of us, but one day, perhaps even today, each one of us will meet His Maker and we will be giving an account. Psalms 24:3-4 tells us that only people with clean hands and a pure heart, who do not lift up their soul to an idol, can ascend to where God dwells. “These are the ones who are allowed to stand before the Lord and worship the God of Jacob” (Ps. 24:6 NLB). The Bible re-iterates time and again that divine love is expressed through self-sacrificial service. All of God’s people are called to show they really love God by loving our neighbors. If a person’s hands and feet are immobilized being tied together, it signifies the antithesis of being united in marriage devotedly loving and serving your spouse. For Yeshua’s attendants (i.e. ones who performed pleasing service on the Lord’s behalf) to be directed by Him to tie up the hands and feet of the friend with the unsuitable wedding clothing that person had to have not served the Lord in an acceptable manner.

Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I  was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me. …Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.

~ Matt. 25:34-36, 40 NKJV


[1] “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and all your soul and with all your strength.” (Deut. 6:5)  The Hebrew word for strength has the root idea of “very much.” Strong, The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, 3966: “me’od” [pronounced meh-ode’ or ma-od or ma-ode too since the ‘e’ on the end in English makes for a long ‘o’ and in Hebrew this is a long ‘o’]; from the same as 181; properly vehemence, i.e. (with or without preposition) vehemently; by implication wholly, speedily, etc. (often with other words as an intensive or superlative; especially  when repeated):– diligently, especially, exceeding (-ly), far, fast, good, great (-ly), x louder and louder, might (-ily, -y), (so) much, quickly, (so) sore, utterly, very (+much, sore), well.
[2] Commenting on Deut 6:5, J. McBride noted: “The three parts of Deuteronomy 6:5; lēbāb bb’le (heart), nepheš  vp,n< (soul or life), and me˒ōd daom. (muchness) rather than signifying different spheres of biblical psychology seem to be semantically concentric. They were chosen to reinforce the absolute singularity of personal devotion to God. Thus, lēbāb denotes the intention or will of the whole man; nepeš means the whole self, a unity of flesh, will and vitality; and mĕ˒ōd accents the superlative degree of total commitment to Yahweh.” Briggs, C. A., “The Use of npš in the OT,” JBL 16. 17–30. Becker, J. H., Het Begrip Nefesj in het Oude Testament, 1942. Buswell, J. O., A Systematic Theology of the Christian Religion, Zondervan, 1962, vol. II, pp. 237–41. Seligson, M., The Meaning of npsh mt in the Old Testament, 1951; cf. Widengren, G., VT 4:97–102. Murtonen, A., The Living Soul, 1958. Lys, D., Nepesh, 1959. Johnson, A. R., The Vitality of the Individual in the Thought of Ancient Israel, 1949. Wolff, H. W., Anthropology of the Old Testament. Westermann, C., “Naefaes” in THAT, II, pp. 71–95. Richardson, TWB, pp. 144–45. TDOT, IX, pp. 617–37. Please note that the idea of the “soul” of a person being one’s mind/will/emotion is a Western idea. It’s not an Eastern idea ala foreign to the Hebrew mind.
[3] Lev or leb is the shorter form of labab or lavav which is the longer more preferred form for bb’le.
[4] Seekins, Hebrew Word Pictures, 18.
[5] Strong’s, The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, OT:5315: “Nephesh [pronounced neh’-fesh]; from 5314;  properly a breathing creature, i.e. animal of (abstract) vitality; used very widely in a literal, accommodated or figurative sense (bodily or mentally) :– any, appetite, beast, body, breath, creature, x dead (-ly), desire, x [dis-] contented, x fish, ghost, + greedy, he, heart (-y), (hath, x jeopardy of ) life (x in jeopardy), lust, man, me, mind, mortally, one, own, person, pleasure, (her-, him-, my-, thy-) self, then (your-)selves, +slay, soul, +tablet, they, thing, (x she) will, x would have it.”
[6] Coupled with your previous experiences, genetic make-up, belief systems, etc.
[7] Nephesh is a noun created from the root consonants: n-p-sh. Nephesh is a word that the sound of the word is the same as what happens. This is an ancient Akkadian or Babylonian word. When you inhale the sound is ‘neph’ and when you exhale the sound is ‘phesh’. The ‘ph’ sound is the transition sound from inhaling and exhaling. Try it. The Ancients knew that there was a part of you that they could not see and without it you were dead. That would be your ‘nephesh’ which one could tell if you had it or not. Thus when David states in Psalms 25:1 “Unto you oh LORD do I lift up my soul,” he was using nephesh. Thus he was lifting that part of his being that if he did not have it he was dead. Nephesh is your very life!
[8] Strong’s, The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, OT:5314: “Naphash [pronounced naw-fash’]; a primitive root; to breathe; passively, to be breathed upon, i.e. (figuratively) refreshed (as if by a current of air) :– (be) refresh selves (-ed).
[10] Chumney, The Seven Festivals of the Messiah, 125-135.
[11] “Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.” (1 John 2:6)
[12] I am just affirming the validity of the Old Testament for it is as much the Word of God as the New Testament. Some Christians have sought to minimize or invalidate its value, which is in actuality slicing and dicing (i.e. taking away from) the Word of God.
[13] Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaki, c. 1040-1105).
[14] Scherman, The Chumash, 486.
[15] Harris, Harris, Archer, and Waltke; Theological Word book of the Old Testament: “2150 רָחַץ (rāḥaṣ) wash. With Times New Roman the transliteration might be more like: rachats. Derivatives 2150a רַחַץ (raḥaṣ) washing (Ps 60:10; 108:10). 2150b רַחצָה (raḥṣâ) washing (Song 4:2; 6:6). The initial occurrence is Gen 18:4, with over forty-eight occurrences in the Pentateuch, twenty-six in Lev. Among the parts of the body ritually rinsed were: the face (Gen 43:31); the hands (Ex 30:19, 21); the body (Lev 17:16); the feet (Gen 18:4ff). In the Levitical rituals the flesh of sacrificial animals was washed (Lev 1:9 et al.). This washing would normally take a great deal of water and perhaps suggests that Solomon’s great brazen sea was used as a reservoir for such water as well as for other rituals. Several interesting uses of the term appear in Song of Solomon giving details on Israelite cosmetology. The root rāḥaṣ describes the ritual foot washing (5:3) and an eye washing with milk (5:12). A similar usage of washing for romantic appeal appears in Ruth 3:3. But the much more serious use of the root is reserved for the notion of its representing the cleansing from sin (Isa 1:16; 4:4). It is this meaning which is carried throughout Ezek. (16:4, 9; 23:40) and on into the nt in the baptism of John and of Jesus. The nt has a number of references to the ot practices (Jon 2:6; Mt 15:2; Heb 9:10 etc.)”
[16] Scherman, The Chumash, 487: “Together with their feet. The conjunction ta, indicates that the hands and feet must be washed at the same time (Or HaChaim). Consequently, the Kohen places his right hand on his right foot and washes them, and then follows the same procedure with his left hand and foot (Rashi from Zevachim 19b). ”
[17] Ibid.
[18] Ibid., 527
[19] They prayed there and listened to the teachings of God.
[20] Scherman, The Chumash, From the mirrors of legions. 527.
[21] Exodus 38:30-31 lists the items made from copper from the regular freewill contribution: sockets of the entrance to the tent of meeting, the altar, the sockets of the courtyard all around, the sockets of the gate of the courtyard, all the pegs of the tabernacle, and all the pegs of the courtyard, all around. The laver is NOT included in this list; therefore it was not made with copper from the regular contributions but “from the mirrors of the women who served at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting” (Exod. 38:8).
[22] Joyner, The Final Quest, 89
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His Divine Building Plan in the Dispensation of the Fullness of Time – 3 of 3

— Precious or Mature Sons —

The second leg of our three-part journey of “moving onto perfection” (Heb 6:1) is called the son’s portion, but more accurately it should be defined as the mature son’s portion for that’s the ultimate goal at this part of our Kingdom trek. Our quest to be just like Jesus is “painfully beautiful” [1] at this juncture.

The son’s portion is the place where our bonds in Christ are readily perceived by our senses and recognized by our minds (Phil 1:13). Second Corinthians 5:14 tells us that the love of Christ should instruct, control or constrain us.  Therefore, the bonds in Christ are obvious within a believer at this stage when one endeavors to become a mature man (Eph 4:13) or when one shoots even higher to become part of Christ’s pure and spotless Bride (Matt 25: 1-13; Eph 5:27; Rev 21). Remember that both men and women are called to be Adult Sons and the Bride of Christ, because in the Spirit there’s no male or female (Gal 3:28). By the way, the third and hardest leg of the “moving unto perfection” journey is the bridal portion.  For now, please note that sons are chosen to build a house for God’s sanctuary (1 Chr 28:10) while His Bride literally makes up His house. She is the glorious exalted space where He can and will dwell (Rev 21:3).

Let’s keep focused on the full-grown son’s portion. Please note that the magnificent corporate purpose of mature sons being bonded in Christ is to unite via an attractive force, and then to embed this cohesive force into a matrix called the One New Man in Christ, which is a phenomenal truth that will be covered in another article.

The son’s portion is a place where we are moving beyond proving what’s merely good to a more restrained place of proving what’s acceptable, approved or pleasing in God’s sight, so we will no longer be conformed to this world in a greater measure (Rom 12:2).

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.

~Psalm 19:14 NASB

We tend to forget that it was partaking of the Tree of the Knowledge of good and evil that caused man to fall from their exalted state of daily communion with God. When we are working out what is acceptable to the Lord our God in our Kingdom within, God works to rein in our mouths, hearts and deeds to align perfectly with His words, His thought and His works. Incremental solidified change results in transformation, which can be a lengthy process at best unless God does something sovereign. Be forewarned: When God is tuning a person’s life to that which is acceptable in His sight, anything that grieves His heart will surface. Mixture will be sifted out here.

Most believers, if not all, have things to perfect at this level. If you think that you don’t, it’s the quickest signal that you do because having a humble, teachable heart is a preeminent hallmark of a maturing or mature son of God (Prov 2-7). Growing, maturing sons continually endeavor to work out their salvation with fear and trembling (Phil 2:12), according to the righteous and just standards of God’s throne (Psa 89:14). When we declare platitudes, like: I’m already holy, I’m already righteous, I’m already a mature son, I’m already His Bride, or I’m already an overcomer, we need to realize that God is already examining those very areas of our life to see if they measure up. Any one of the above manifestations are heavenly positions that believers have access to “in Christ,” but it’s God’s appraisal of our earthly condition that determines the level of a person’s or a group’s maturity. Ephesians 4:13 tells us that “a mature man” is determined by the standard of the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. Jesus Christ’s fullness is always 100%. Your or my fullness is not. Not yet. I dare you to ask the Lord, “How much of the fullness of the stature of Christ do I have?” Our goal is for these heavenly positions to become walking-talking realities here in the land of the living, but for now, I see too often that these glorious heavenly positions, like being an Adult Son or the Bride, are used as emphatic declarations that keep us unknowingly stunted.

Everyone (both in the Church and the world) recognizes a genuine manifestation of God’s power and any heavenly position manifestly held here on earth. If we’re honest with ourselves, we will see that blanket platitudes are red flags that signal where God would like to refine us. Trite remarks usually indicate areas where we’re protective, defensive, and unwilling to dive deeper into the Way and the Truth and the Life. When someone utters, I’m already such-and-such but their life doesn’t always demonstrate that reality, the only people who buy into their confession are like-minded individuals. Everyone else can discern the fact that your State of Being doesn’t measure up to what you tout. Christ’s Church needs to recognize that our hypocritical assumptions are painfully obvious to the most casual observer.

He began saying to His disciples first of all, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.”

                                                                                                              ~ Luke 12:1b NASB

Most of us are more immature than we’d like to admit. Just remember that if you can not or will not admit the truth of your current condition here on earth, you’ll never be set free in that area of your life because it’s the truth that set us free (John 8:32). But praise be to God that He never denies genuine heart cries! Oh that we might turn, and be healed!

Wade Taylor writes: “Our ‘willing obedience’ is the determining factor in our becoming an overcomer. Being an overcomer is not that we do. Rather, it relates to the intent and issues of our heart, which determines our actions…. as long as we walk in submission and obedience, it can be said that we are an overcomer.” [2] I agree, except I’d extend this statement to include holiness, righteousness, mature sons, the Bride, etc. For this article, let’s just say that our willing obedience to the One who sits on the throne and unto the Lamb is the determining factor in our becoming a mature son.

Two chief characteristics of a son of God is that they serve God with a whole heart (1 Chr 28:9) as well as keeping God’s commandments (Prov 7:1-2: 1 John 2:3-6; Rev 14:12). We are not talking about something yucky and legalistic, but a State ofBeingthat resonates at the same frequency as the Word of God – Jesus. Please be encouraged, because this is a divine work of sanctification that’s done not by your might or your power, but by His Spirit (Zech 4:6). All that God requires from you and me is that we put our best foot forward in obeying His Word and surrendering to His Spirit. Thankfully, the Lord our God will give us all the grace that we need (2 Cor 9:8; Heb 4:16).

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

                                                                                                     ~ Philippians 1:6 NASB

Even though the son’s portion came in the Fullness of Time when Jesus came to earth and purchased it on the cross (Gal 4:4-6), we must experientially appropriate the redemptive gift of sonship the same way that it was acquired. Our journey of “moving unto perfection” is a crucifixion process (much more will be shared in another article). Dying daily is the only way we actually develop into mature, full-grown sons of God (Matt 10:37-39, 16:24; Mark 8:34, 10:21; Luke 9:23, 14:27). The wisdom of God insists upon our permission to crucify our sin nature, and He will only complete the work of co-crucifixion with Christ with our approval. Volunteering freely in the day of God’s power is a continual daily sanctioning of “not my will, but Yours be done” (Matt 6:10). Paul shows us the culmination of being an Adult Son is living a crucified life:

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

                                                                                                         ~ Galatians 2:20 NASB

Remember from our previous “Burnt Offering” teaching that it’s the Good Shepherd of our souls who chooses the best sacrifice that will go on His Altar, not us. So when you find yourself in a miserable place where you just want out (you wanna run for all your worth), just stop, take a breath, stand, and keep your eyes focused on the prize – the Author and Perfecter of your faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross (Heb 12:2).

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations (encounter various trials); Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire (complete), wanting nothing.

                                                                 ~ James 1:2-4 KJV (additional comments mine) 

When you focus on the Way and the Truth and the Life (John 14:6), He revelatory leads you beside the still waters around the Tree of Life, which will enable you to recognize and process the grueling situation(s) you find yourself in according to His Kingdom come. As you keep focused on Him when you encounter various trials, the Lord our God will restore your soul (Psa 23:3). He will guide you in the paths of righteousness for His Name sake (Ps 23:3), and He will prepare a feast of goodness, kindness and love before you in the presence of your enemies (Psa 23:5). And thus, you are well on your way on the path of life (i.e. righteousness) where one of the most arduous tests is overcoming evil with good (Rom 12:21):

But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? … Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

                                                                          ~Matthew 5:44-48 NASB (emphasis mine)

 

Only the highest caliber of saints allows their sin natures to be completely crucified. Through the ages, saints who’ve endured the cross to live in this high and lofty place of common union with the Most High God have been few and far between. People like Enoch, Moses, the Apostle John and Paul were totally separated from the world, which allowed them to live an overcoming life in a crossover place with God, so sacred and beautiful that it begs description. Even though resurrection life (complete crucifixion of worldly and fleshly passions) is not a new grace, it’s been preferred by and fixed on by a small number of extremely devout saints.  One of the new things that God is going to do in our day is to extend this crucified life grace (authentic death, burial, resurrection life reality) to a large company of believers:

that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.

                                                                                                              ~Phil 3:10-12 NASB

We must remember that difficult crucifying circumstances are the painfully beautiful agents that form you into His very image where you are filled with tangible effervescent joy, unwavering powerful love, profound life-giving wisdom, et cetera. “All of you, for all of Him.” It’s really quite a bargain.

Let’s shift for a moment, back to our study of the dispensation of the fullness of times. In order to be complete, we need to thoroughly understand the picture that God is painting. Remember that the Biblical pattern for each new dispensation is first a precious son volunteers to become a worshipful, sacrificial burnt offering; then gradually a new dwelling place for God is built. This means we need to look more into what God says about a precious or mature son.

Almost every time the word “son” is used in the New Testament, it comes from two Greek words:

[1]  teknon = babies or immature sons,

[2]  huios = mature sons (used in Revelation 21:7)

Immature sons of God – teknons – tend to go after their own heart’s desires, and are less likely to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. So basically, a mark of the spiritually immature is that they have not yet learned to act only on the Spirit’s leading. Another mark of spiritual immaturity is most often teknons react, or respond, emotionally or intellectually to various trials they face as well as seeking to protect themselves; therefore, they are “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim 3:7). We can only come to the knowledge of the truth by applying it. Character is forged by facing difficult circumstances, not running away from or hiding from the truth. Truth must be allowed to have its way in our lives if we are going to mature. The Hebrew pictograph for the word “humble” reveals that humility comes when we destroy our walls of self-protection. While the Hebrew pictograph for the word “pride” tells us that we are in pride when we lift ourselves up in our own strength.

God’s Kingdom focuses on growing and maturing sons (huios). Physical growth for people is a function of time. Intellectual growth is a function of learning. While spiritual growth is a function of obedience.  If Jesus was a mature Son (huios), yet He learned obedience by the things He suffered (Heb 5:8), then we should expect to have to walk in the same manner as He did (1 John 2:6):

Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for          obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or obedience resulting in righteousness? I am speaking in human term because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in  sanctification (holiness).

                                                                ~ Romans 6: 16,19 NASB (emphasis mine)

From these verses we see a pattern where obedience to God’s divine will results in our righteousness, which results in our holiness. We’ll discuss this process more in another article. For now, please allow me to pull out some prevalent Biblical themes with regard to mature sons of God without doing an exhaustive study. Mature or Adult Sons:

[1]  Are heirs of God’s Kingdom (Rom 8:17; Gal 3:29; Heb 11:8-10).

[2]  Serve God with a whole heart and willing mind, i.e. soul (1 Chr 28:9).

[3]  Are chosen to build a dwelling place for God’s sanctuary (1 Chr 28:10).

[4]  Hear, treasure, and observe God’s commandments (Prov 1:8; 2:1; 4:1; 5:7; 7:1,24).

[5]  Love their enemies and they pray for their persecutors (Matt 5:44-45).

[6]  Are continually led by the Spirit of God (Rom 8:14).

[7] Are the pool from which the overcoming bridal company is drawn from (Rev 21:7).

However, all mature sons are not necessarily part of the pure and spotless Bride (Matt 25:1-13; Eph 5:27). One does not guarantee the other. There are wise virgins and foolish virgins within the church. To be part of Christ’s Bride, one must literally go through their own close and personal baptism of fire (i.e., complete crucifixion) where the All-Consuming Fire who sits on the sapphire throne (Ezek 1:26-27, 10:1; Heb 12:29) righteously judges our earth. On this side of heaven in the land of the living, God will be testing the quality of each bridal candidate’s works by fire (1 Cor 3:12-15), so she can be properly clothed for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb with bright and clean fine linen, which is a robe of righteousness (Isa 61:10-11), or as Revelation 19:8 tells us that this fine linen is literally the righteous acts of the saints.

Please do not dismiss this truth lightly. Becoming part of the Bride of Christ is not a salvation issue, it’s about the most intimate, eternal relationship with the King of kings. It’s an eternal reward issue where no one will be exempt. True Christians will either be found by the Judge of heaven and earth, the King of the Ages, to be a wise virgin or a foolish one and I wouldn’t just assume that you are counted in the wise column. Too much is at stake to assume and presume anything; and unfortunately, Christ’s Church has taught us for decades that everyone who is part of the church is part of the pure and spotless Bride. This is not a Scripturally accurate picture. (Please refer to the “Here Comes The Bride http://www.sapphirethroneministries.wordpress.com/2012/03/28/here-comes-the-bride/  article for greater clarification.)


[1] Term coined by Dani Meeker Chambers. Received in a text on 01-06-2012.

[2] Make the Right Choices by Wade Taylor wade@wadetaylor.org, The Elijah List (www.elijahlist.com) email info@elijahlist.net, December 04-2011

His Divine Building Plan in the Dispensation of the Fullness of Time – 2 of 3

— Becoming a Burnt Offering —

We previously discussed that in the fresh dispensation that has dawned in our day, the Lord our God is causing us to want to be just like Jesus (Yeshua) so we can all be made ONE. Devout hearts everywhere divinely desire to walk in the same manner as Jesus did (1 John 2:6), including following Him in being baptized with water, the Holy Spirit and fire (Matt 3:11).

Divine series of three and seven in Scripture are keys for the hour that we live in. We will focus on the series of three in the Bible. When you see three items listed, sit up and take notice. Biblical threes list things from easiest to hardest; but more importantly, they reveal the way of life that propels us toward maturity (Psa 16:11; John 14:6). I prefer to use the phrase “move onto perfection” (Heb 6:1) to the word “maturity.” Divine threes are typically progressive in nature with one building on what was previously gained or attained. Usually these steps that move us unto perfection also overlap where God can be working on two or three different levels within us at the same time, since parts of any one of us can be more mature than others. Yeshua’s three baptisms articulated in Matthew 3:11 is a good example. Being baptized by water is easier, and usually precedes, being baptized by the Holy Ghost, which is definitely easier than being baptized by fire by going to a cross.

Let’s immediately discuss exceptions for this rule. Take Cornelius for instance, the Holy Spirit fell on him and his household as Peter spoke to them prior to them being baptized with water (Acts 10:44-48). Let’s just keep open to the fact that God is large and in charge and can do whatever He likes. Granted, the Peter-Cornelius event was an extraordinary precedent-setting moment for the new dispensation of the Fullness of Time (Gal 4:4-5) around two thousand years ago when Jesus was crucified for the sins of the world so the door of faith could be opened to the Gentiles. In the first century, the Jewish paradigm of preaching to all nations made a divine seismic shift to begin to accomplish the Great Commission. Today, another earth-shattering shift on how people relate to one another has already begun to take place, and like in the first century, believers will probably be astonished, surprised, uneasy, anxious, uncomfortable and possibly even perturbed about the changes God will require us to make. According to providence, the One New Man in the Messiah and His Bride will come forth.

Let’s review some examples of divine series of three, so we can see more clearly what I’m talking about:

[1]  You shall love the LORD your God with all your:  (1) heart,  (2) soul, and  (3) strength (Deuteronomy 6:5).

[2]  Abide these three, but the greatest of these is love:  (1) faith,  (2) hope, and  (3) love  (1 Corinthians 13:13).

[3]  May the God of peace sanctify you entirely, so you may be preserved complete without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:  (1) spirit,  (2) soul, and  (3) body  (1 Thessalonians 5:23).

[4]  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is:  (1) good,  (2) acceptable (or pleasing),  (3) perfect  (Romans 12:2).

[5]  You are a slave to the one you obey:  (1) obedience to His divine will,  (2) results in righteousness,  (3) which results in holiness  (Romans 6:16-19).

[6]  Baptism of:  (1) water,  (2) the Holy Spirit, and  (3) fire  (Matthew 3:11).

[7]  Another example of a divine series of three that’s not contained within one Bible verse, like Romans 6:16-19, but this time a person must have a greater understanding of the totality of Scripture:  (1) Baptized by water = See the Kingdom of God(John 3:3),  (2)        Baptized by the Holy Spirit = enter the Kingdom of God (John 3:5),  (3) Baptized by fire = inherit the Kingdom of God  (1 Corinthians15:50; Galatians 5:19-21).

[8]  The Levitical priests shall never lack a man before Me:  (1) to offer burnt offerings,  (2) to burn grain offerings, and  (3) to prepare sacrifices continually (Jeremiah 33:18).

BECOMING A BURNT OFFERING

Since the Biblical pattern for each new dispensation is first a precious son volunteers to become a worshipful Burnt Offering before a new dwelling place for God is built, it will behoove us to look further into what does it mean for one to sacrificially offer oneself as a Burnt Offering as well as what does it mean to be a precious son. In this article, we will explore the Burnt Offering that the believers must go through to begin to their journey of moving unto perfection. Our next article will search out what it means to be a precious or mature son.

The first depiction of a fire offering in God’s Word is the picture of a Burnt Offering presented in Leviticus 1. It is the first step believers will have to pass through in their Baptism of Fire. (We will discuss later the other two steps required in our personal as well as corporate immersion in His Baptism of Fire, which will enable His Bride to be prepared by clothing her with righteousness (Rev 21:7-8). For now, please note that this is merely the first stride all believers must undergo to move from the believers’ portion to the sons’ portion to the bride’s portion.) Yeshua perfectly fulfilled the Leviticus 1 image on the cross, but always keep before you that devout hearts will walk in the same way with some divine adjustments in our Kingdom day.

When Jesus walked the earth, He was Jewish and His understanding of the Baptism of Fire, which He experienced at His crucifixion, came from the picture of Burnt Offering in the first five books of the Bible. It would behoove us Christians to start with the same foundation. They were the instructions of Moses on the priests, the altars, and the sacrificial system, which (by the way) is accurate according to the Messiah’s instructions:
“For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” (John 5:46-47 NASB).

The Bible teaches that there’s no sacrifice for intentional sin that can be brought by man. However, the Bible also teaches us that, before the Law was given to Moses by the finger of God, if God brings a lamb for you, it will cover all your intentional sins and cause you to pass from death to life. It’s called the Lamb of God sacrifice and was foreshadowed via Abraham and Isaac on Mount Moriah. We need to understand that it’s because of the commandments about priests and sacrifices and altars that we can have any confidence that Yeshua’s sacrifice on the cross is able to cover our sins before a Holy Living God. This is an important basic instruction to our faith.

The Spirit and the Bride says, “Come.” Come. Let’s dive deeper into the ancient Hebraic understanding of the Burnt Offering to mine the riches of our inheritance. The Hebraic root of the word offering means “coming near,” so any type of offering was, and is, meant to bring oneself closer to God. The Hebrew word for “burnt” is olah, which literally means going up. Therefore, it was understood when one sincerely offers themselves or anything dear to themselves to the Lord for the purpose of drawing close to God, they spiritually go up to meet with the God of grace personally (Heb 4:16). By the way, any Burnt Offering was given exclusively to the LORD, and is considered to be a pleasing fragrance to God.

The Burnt Offering is also called by another name – the Elevation Offering. As it names suggests, it raises one’s spiritual level. The Elevation Offering was brought by everyone who went up to Jerusalemfor the three pilgrimage feasts of the Lord. These pilgrimage feasts are also called “feasts forever.”[1] The Hebrew prophets spoke that in the end times all the nations will be coming to Jerusalem – going up physically or spiritually – and they will take part in building the temple.

The Burnt Offering was considered to be superior to all others, because it was a voluntary sacrifice and it was offered in its entirety by fire. When a person brought his burnt offering to the priests, they were required to lay both of their hands on the animal’s head, and then, confess their sins or shortcomings. By the way, leaning with both hands on one’s sacrifice alludes to leaning on the Lord through loving Him with all your strength – the highest (kingdom) form of love. (Please refer to the “Here Comes the Bride” article).

Perhaps one of the most significant realities of the Burnt Offering is unveiled when you break down the three Hebrew letters for olah. The mystery revealed is: a true olah (Burnt Offering) is that which the Shepherd brings forth. It’s such an incredible picture, because if you were going to make a burnt offering, you’d have to go to the shepherd of the flock first to get your lamb, goat, bull, et cetera. Basically, you’d ask the shepherd, “Select the best one for me,” and he’d make the judgment as to what’s best for you.

In this Kingdom Day, the Great Shepherd of our souls (John 10:11) will guide us to the best path that each one of us needs to take to become just like Him. He will sit on His blazing throne (Dan 7:9) and judge everything in our life – or – as Hebrews 12 states it: He will shake everything that is not of Him so only His Kingdom without and within you remains. Please note that the foundation and habitation of God’s throne is righteousness and justice (Psa 9:7; 11:4; 45:6; 89:14; 97:2; Prov 25:5; 29:14). Therefore, for the heavenly-minded, His just judgments in our lives will really be sweeter than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb (Psa 19:10). Press into the fact that His righteous assessments of our lives will also be more desirable than fine gold.

Let’s sum up some ancient ways that are still true today:

[1] God’s people, who are initiated into His royal priesthood, His holy  nation, through their genuine reception of the shed blood of the Lamb of God, receive forgiveness for their shortcomings once they sincerely confess their sin.

[2] We bypass animal sacrifices because Jesus Christ offered up the perfect sacrifice of His earthly body once for all (Heb 9:12).

[3] The ultimate spiritual principle behind the Burnt Offering, which will remain steadfast forever is: “Behold, I have come to do thy will” (Psa 40:7-8; Heb 10:7).

[4] Yeshua became our Burnt Offering on the cross, and His Bride will be like Him for the purpose of the redemption of The Body (the death, burial & resurrection of a Body of Believers who make up the One New Man in Christ). This is an individual as well as a corporate work. It’s the great quickening happening now in our day.

[5] The fulfillment of the picture of the Burnt Offering in our fresh dispensation is the Baptism of Fire (i.e., crucified life; Gal 2:20) that the mature sons of God must choose to voluntarily go through to be part of the Lamb’s pure and spotless Bride. Remember, we don’t get to choose what we will offer as a Burnt Offering. It’s  Yeshua – the Great Shepherd who’s in the midst of God’s Kingdom (Rev 7:17) – who chooses for us what our Elevation Offering will be, so every member of His Bride can resonate at the exact same frequency as our heavenly Bridegroom – the Word of God. BTW – Those souls that are not totally sold-out will be open to the greatest deception that this world has ever seen.

[6] Bridal lovers as well as mature sons of God must lay everything we                                    have been taught and everything we have known on His altar (ourselves in our entirety); and then, by His Spirit and His Truth (2 Tim 3:16) we must sift through every thing in order to recognize what practices and beliefs actually please God, and which do not.

  • “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” (Proverbs 14:12 NASB)
  • “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profits nothing : the words I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life” (John 6:63 KJV)
  • My soul cleaveth unto the dust : quicken thou me according to thy word” (Psalm 119:25 KJV).


[1] The three pilgrimage feasts of the Lord: Passover (Pesach), Pentecost (Shavuot) and Tabernacles (Sukkot).

His Divine Building Plan in the Dispensation of the Fullness of Time – 1 of 3

— The Biblical Pattern for a Global Shift in the Divine Order of Earthly Things–

A radically new dispensation has arrived upon the scene of human history every two thousand years since the dawn of time. Don’t let the word dispensation trip you up, because it simply means an administrative system. When the One who is sovereign initiates a new dispensation, God reforms how He manages and runs things on earth.

For several years now, the whole world has become engulfed in an atmospheric (spiritual) climate of change. Simply look and see words like “kingdom,” “shift,” and “change” are in the air. Please realize that the promises that have regulated human affairs for the past two thousand years are not going away, but shifting by a quark or two in order to prepare God’s people for our coming King. God is in charge of this and any shift in the divine order of earthly things, and it affects everything we do and who we are. It literally is a new state of being in Christ. This new state of being will result in the gathering together in one all things in Christ (Eph 1:10) – which in a word is One(ness). This fresh new order carries with it a pristine DNA for a new creature, which will produce a new prototype.

The purpose of this divine global shift in earth’s administration is to make adjustments so His resurrected body of believers and His pure and spotless bridal company can come into their fullness.  We have entered a season where an elemental change is occurring so that a corporate body will be prepared for Him (Heb 10:5). This new thing – a manifestation of the perfect multi-membered resurrection of Christ’s body – will inaugurate the Age of the Bride of Christ (Rev 19:7-8) and the Age of the New Jerusalem (Rev 21:1-10) and the Age of the One New Man in the Messiah (Eph 2:15) – these three being one as diverse aspects of the same consummation. Please don’t get hung up on gender-specific terms; both men and women are called to be part of the One New Man and the Bride.

The Biblical pattern for each new dispensation is first a precious son volunteers to become a worshipful, sacrificial burnt offering; then gradually a new dwelling place for God is built. Just know that the Creator of our universe started with something wholly natural, but eventually His divine building pattern will culminate in something entirely spiritual.

“The spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual … Just as we have borne the image of the earthly, we will bear the image of the heavenly … flesh and blood can not inherit the Kingdom of God” (1 Corinthinans 15:46, 49-50 NASB).

Let’s take a closer look at times in the Bible when a precious son volunteers to become a pleasing sacrifice. Notice that each one of the participants is an example of those who volunteer freely in the day of God’s power (Psa 110:3). They literally present themselves as a Burnt Offering by fire.

The first example presented to us is Abraham and Isaac in Genesis 22. Some facts hidden in Jewish history about Abraham will help better illuminate our burnt offering picture.

Before Abram became Abraham, he originally shared the idolatrous practices of his father, Terah, who manufactured and sold actual graven images (idols). At the tender age of 13, Abram was personally convicted by the Most High God to cast off all foreign gods, so he smashed all of his father’s idols. Terah was furious, because he had lost a lot of things including time, energy and money; therefore, Terah took his case to the pre-eminent rebel of his time who was the first earthly king – Nimrod. Nimrod, being a law unto himself and the flesh, ruled that Abram was guilty. He had the “defiant” Abram thrown into a fiery furnace. What’s astonishing is that Abram miraculous survived his very close and personal baptism of fire long before Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (Dan 3).

We then see God’s heart response to Abram’s sincere belief and his obedience in coming out of Babylon by forging a unilateral covenant of faith with him as a prototype for all who believe. The unilateral covenant where Abram was saved through faith by grace was, and is, only dependent on God’s faithfulness (Gen 15). Notice that Abram was asleep when God made His covenant with him. Significantly, God appeared as a flaming torch which passed between Abram’s five split offerings. The number “”five” in Scripture speaks of divine favor and grace.

Always pay attention to the first occurrence of any thing in the Bible, because it sets precedence. Therefore, the first account of a son volunteering to be a sacrifice is when God asked Abraham to take his only son up to Mount Moriah and offer him there as a burnt offering as a voluntary act of worship (Gen 22). Many of us think back to when we were taught this in Sunday School, and picture Abraham running the show and Isaac being a small boy who unconditionally trusted his father; but Hebrew history records that Abraham was 137-years-old and Isaac was 36 at the time. Knowing their more advanced age brings better clarity on how both participants – both Abraham and Isaac – truly volunteered freely. When Abraham and Isaac willingly ascended Mount Moriah, Abraham (the father) carried the fire and Isaac (his son) carried the wood for the burnt offering on his back. This was a Messianic foreshadow of an unprecedented event fulfilled around two-thousand years later by Jesus and His own Heavenly Father. Abraham built an altar there onMount Moriah, arranged the wood, and placed his only begotten son on top of the wood. When Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son, an angel stopped him at the last moment.

Known as the “akedah” in Hebrew, this was the final test of Abraham’s faith. James chapter 2 says that Abraham’s “faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected,[ i.e. completed]. And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS’ (James 2:22-23 NASB). Abraham’s persevered in his faith in God and moved into a more mature state of holding to the testimony of God (Rev 12:17; 14:12). The truth of the matter is if you believe in something, then you will naturally act on that belief and do those things which are consistent with what you believe. Otherwise, your words won’t line up with what you do and you will be known as a hypocrite.

After the akedah, there were several iterations of God’s dwelling place that were built, with one version overlapping the next precious son volunteering to be a sacrifice:

[1]   Wilderness Tabernacle (Built by Moses) – Portable earthly image that served as a copy and shadow of heavenly things to come (Exo 25:40; Heb 8:5)

[2]   Solomon’sTemple (Built by King David’s son)

[3]   Herod’s Temple (Built by an apostate king)

The next Biblical precedence of a precious son volunteering to become a burnt offering is Jesus (i.e. Yeshua). With Yeshua’s death, burial, and resurrection a great slide from the natural toward the supernatural began. Even though there was a new beginning inaugurated at the cross to facilitate a transformation of God’s temple, historically, there was a gradual turning so God’s people could transition into the new dispensation. The dispensation begun by Jesus’s baptism of fire (Matt 3:11) – his crucifixion – was:

“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Galatians 4:4-5 NIV).

The promise of the new dispensation inaugurated at the cross was, and still is, the adoption of sons (i.e. restoration of fellowship). This promise was the first great quickening (Rom 8:11; Eph 2:5). It’s an eternal promise; therefore, it will continue. Right now, we have a fresh dispensation dawning, which encompasses and expands on everything that has gone before it.

“that in the dispensation of the fullness of time He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth – in Him” (Ephesians 1:10 NIV).

The new dispensation in our day speaks of gathering together in one all things in Christ. It should be another quantum leap in the spiritual direction, which should result in something enveloped by something completely heavenly. Something like: a holy city, the Lamb’s (Bridegroom’s) wife, the Bride, New Jerusalem “coming down from God out of heaven” (Rev 21:2). Something like: the mature HEAD of Christ (Rev 1:14) spiritually being joined to His mature BODY of believers (Eph 4:15-16; 1 Cor 12:12-27). What I do know is that in this fresh dispensation, God is causing us to hunger and thirst for righteousness (Matt 5:6) as well as hating mixture (Rev 3:15-16). He is causing us to want to be just like Jesus. To move just like Him. To live just like Him. To be just like Him. In order to do this, we will have to diligently and consistently choose to walk in the same manner that Jesus did (1 John 2:6).