“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
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” 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). 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
and its ancient word picture tells us that the heart is what controls the family or what controls the inside.
Your heart is known as the center of your being – the most interior organ.
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
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) means a breathing creature. Its verb naphash (naw-fash) means to breathe or be refreshed. 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.
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. 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. “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.  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).
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. 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 said it had two spouts at the bottom through which the water would flow keeping it from becoming stagnant. In the Hebrew language the term “for washing” carries the idea that the laver was “for sanctification;” 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. 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.
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). 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, 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. ,  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. 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
“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.
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.
is the shorter form of labab
which is the longer more preferred form for bb’le.
Seekins, Hebrew Word Pictures,
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.”
Coupled with your previous experiences, genetic make-up, belief systems, etc.
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!
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).
Chumney, The Seven Festivals of the Messiah
“Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.” (1 John 2:6)
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.
Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaki, c. 1040-1105).
Scherman, The Chumash
 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.)”
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
They prayed there and listened to the teachings of God.
Scherman, The Chumash
, From the mirrors of legions. 527.
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).
Joyner, The Final Quest